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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by 


office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 

7/ fr 2..T 

Press of John Wilson and Son. 







"Woman's Journal," Nov. 8 and 15, 1873.) . 32 




VI. BY C 109 





XI. ABBY W. MAY 170 

XII. MARIA A. ELMORE ....'. 174 

XIII. A. C. GARLAND. (From " Providence Journal.") 183 


Vassar College 191 

Antioch College 196 

Michigan University . . . . 199 

Lombard University 201 

Oberlin College 202 

- T HK ' 



I DO not know that I can better introduce 
this volume than by saying that it contains 
the views of a number of thoughtful persons, 
chiefly women, upon the matters treated of 
in Dr. EDWARD H. CLARKE'S work entitled 
44 Sex in Education," and upon the book 
itself. Nearly all the papers here presented 
were contributed to various publications soon 
after the appearance of that book ; several 
of them have been revised by their authors. 
Each is an independent expression of opin- 
ion, modified by no plan or intention of 
subsequent combination. The general agree- 
ment in their tenor, and the permission 
to republish them at this time and in this 
form, afford the only ground upon which 


the Editor can assume to speak for their 
authors. Her "we" therefore must be 
taken with this limitation. 

Most of the writers are experienced in 
the office of tuition, and in the observa- 
tion of its effects. All of them have 
had occasion to form their own theories 
of what is desirable for the improvement 
of the condition of women. The facts 
and experience of their lives have led 
them far from Dr. Clarke's conclusions. 
To most of them, his book seems to have 
found a chance at the girls, rather than a 
chance for them. All could wish that he 
had not played his sex-symphony so harshly, 
so loudly, or in so public a manner. But 
since he has awakened public attention with 
his discovered discord, all would gladly com- 
bine in reassuring mankind of the compati- 
bility of its foremost interests. Dr. Clarke's 
discord exists not in nature, but in his own 
thought. An appeal to the great laws of 


harmony will be sure to solve it, and set it 
out of sight 

Most of us feel compelled to characterize 
this book in one aspect as an intrusion into 
the sacred domain of womanly privacy. No 
woman could publish facts and speculations 
concerning the special physical economy of 
the other sex, on so free and careless a plane, 
without incurring the gravest rebuke for 
insolence and immodesty. And yet it is 
important that mothers should know enough 
of these to guide and influence their sons 
in the right direction. But no man could 
endure the thought of having the physical 
functions peculiar to his sex so unveiled 
before the common sight of society, so sug- 
gested to and imposed upon its common 
talk. However, then, people may differ 
concerning the coarseness or refinement of 
the book, all must, we think, agree that its 
method violates the Christian rule of doing 
to others exactly as we would have them do 
to us. 


Despite Dr. Clarke's prominent position 
in this community, we do not feel compelled 
to regard him as the supreme authority on 
the subjects of which he treats. .'The ob- 
ject, then, of our publication is twofold. 
First and foremost we wish to put in a solid 
and tangible form the impression which his 
book makes upon men and women to whom 
the interests of Woman and of Humanity 
have long been the theme of careful study 
and anxious thought. And in the second 
place we desire to appeal to the wisdom 
and chivalry of the two professions on whose 
blended domain the book imposes its forced 
and absolute conclusions. 

To those most eminent in physics and 
in sociology we would say : " Take the so- 
cial mixture of to-day, with its antecedents 
and concomitants. Analyze it fairly and 
thoroughly; and then tell us if the over- 
education of women is its most poisonous 


To the high courts of education we 
would say : " Remodel carefully your laws 
and ordinances. The mischiefs arising 
from the .'separation of the sexes during 
the period of education are such as to 
make their co-education imperative. Youth 
cannot be driven and overworked in one 
sex with more impunity than in the other. 
Boys as well as girls break down under 
severe study, men as well as women, and 
at least as often. Let a milder and more 
humane regime be devised and enforced. 
No one loses health through the lessons 
of wisdom wisely explained. It is the hur- 
ried, undigested (also indigestible) tuition 
which nauseates and fatigues. Let the 
community be careful not only of what is 
taught, but of how it is taught. And 
above all, in view of the good of society, 
let not man and woman, who are to be part- 
ners in all the earnest tasks of life, come 
forth from a separate and unequal disci- 


pline, to meet as strangers in their fiery 
youth. What knowledge of character, what 
insight into sympathy and compatibility, 
may we not hope to find among young 
people who have met in the august pres- 
ence of wisdom and science; who have 
assisted each other, not in the mazes of a 
bewildering dance, but in noble operations 
of intellect, in unravelling the problems of 
the ages r in building the structure of the 
social world ! " 

And to parents may we not say : Do not 
longer feel obliged to surrender your daugh- 
ters, in the very bloom of their youthful 
powers, to the unintelligent dominion of 
Fashion. You subject them to the extrava- 
gant, immodest rules of display; you ex- 
pose them to the intercourse of flattery and 
folly, to the poison of heated and crowded 
rooms, late hours, and luxurious suppers. 
You countenance the lavish waste of time, 
talent, sensibility, and money, and all this 


because without it your daughters may not 
marry. And with it. indeed, they may not. 
Take courage then, and come to a loftier 
stand. Educate the future wives with the 
future husbands. Give the two in common 
the highest enjoyments and the happiest 
memories. Then shall the marriage wreath 
crown the pair in its true human dignity, 
never to be displaced or lost. 

J. w. H. 





WHEN a book challenges public attention to 
its especial object and intention, we may not 
inappropriately deal with it before we consider 
its author. As to the book, then, called " Sex 
in Education," let us endeavor to make up our 
minds concerning its character, before we pass 
on to deal with the topics it suggests. 

Is the book, then, a work of science, of litera- 
ture, or of philosophy, or is it a simple practical 
treatise on the care of health ? We should call 
it none of these. It has neither the impartiality 
of science, the form of literature, the breadth 
of philosophy, nor the friendliness of counsel. 


It is a work of the polemic type, presenting a 
persistent and passionate plea against the admis- 
sion of women to a collegiate education in com- 
mon with men. The advisableness of such 
education in common is a question upon which 
people differ greatly in opinion. So many peo- 
ple of conscience and intelligence hold opposite 
theories concerning this, that it may be consid- 
ered as a question fairly open to discussion, and 
asking to be tested in the light of experience. 
Dr. Clarke supports his side of the argument by 
a statement of facts insufficient for his purpose, 
and <by reasonings and inferences irrelevant to 
the true lesson of these facts. He makes in 
the first place a strange confusion between 
things present, past, and future, and in the terror 
of the identical education to come sees identical 
education of the sexes in the past and present 
as the cause of all the ills that female flesh is 2 
heir to. He asserts the fact of an ascertained 
and ever increasing deterioration in the persons 
of American women from the true womanly 
standard. He finds them tending ever more 


and more towards a monstrous type, sterile and 
sexless ; and these facts, which some of us may 
strongly doubt, he considers accounted for by 
the corresponding fact that boys and girls re- 
ceive the same intellectual education. * Accord- 
ing to him, you cannot feed a woman's brain 
without starving her body. Brain and body are 
set in antagonism over against each other, and 
what is one organ's meat is another's poison. 
Single women of the intellectual type he char- 
acterizes very generally, not only as agamai, 
but as agenes ; and his portraiture of them is 
sufficiently revolting. The powerful influence 
of climate is lightly estimated by him. One 
hundred years would be insufficient to change 
the stout, heavily boned English or Irish woman, 
with her abundant covering of flesh, into the 
wiry, nervous Yankee woman, characterized by 
nerve and brain, The cause of all this, of the 
undeveloped busts, fragile figures, and uncer- 
tain health of American women, resides in the 
fact that with us, as he says, girls and boys 
receive the same education. 


The periodical function peculiar to women is 
a point upon which Dr. Clarke dwells with per- 
sistent iteration. Its neglect he considers the 
principal source of disease among the women 
of our land. Its repression or over-produc- 
tion are equally fatal to health ; and, in the 
years which nature consecrates to its establish- 
ment, the recurrence of the function should be 
observed by the avoidance of bodily and men- 
tal fatigue. Dr. Clarke's reasoning upon this 
point affirms that American women neglect 
care in this direction beyond all other women, 
and that the school education which our girls 
receive is the moving cause of this neglect. 

We cannot remember a single point in Dr. 
Clarke's diagnosis of American female hygiene 
which is not included in the present rapid rJ- 
sumtf. The Doctor's prognosis is even more dis- 
mal and unpromising. Open the doors of your 
colleges to women, and you will accomplish 
the ruin of the Commonwealth. Disease al- 
ready, according to him, the rule among them 
will become without exception. Your girls 


will lose their physical stature, and your boys 
their mental stature, since the tasks set for the 
latter would be limited by the periodical dis- 
ability of the girls. The result will be a physi- 
cal and sexual chaos, out of which the Doctor 
sees no escape save in an act akin to the rape 
of the Sabines. Tennyson's line suits with 
his mood : 

" I will take some savage woman, she shall rear my dusky 

A number of persons have commented wisely 
and wittily upon this book and its contents. 
There is, perhaps, no need of any further de- 
tailed criticism of its scope and statement. We 
have endeavored to give its sense and spirit in 
little. And we will supplement this synopsis 
by giving as briefly our own impressions con- 
cerning these. 

To begin with the observance of the periodi- 
cal function. This is a good old grandmotherly 
doctrine, handed down from parent to child 
through all the ages of humanity. Ignorance 
of the laws of health would, no doubt, in all 


ages, induce young persons to disregard the 
cautions of their elders on this as on other 
points ; and the sharp proverb which tells what 
young people think of old people, and what the 
latter know of the former, must often recur to 
the minds of elderly women preaching care and 
prudence to daughters and nieces. On the 
whole, if a pretty wide and long personal expe- 
rience can go for any thing, I incline to think 
that the elder generation is much more careful 
of this point of health than of any other. Many 
young women who are allowed to eat, dress, live, 
and behave as they like, are periodically kept 
from all violent exercise and fatigue, so far as 
the vigilance of elders can accomplish this. The 
wilfulness and ingenuity of the young, however, 
are often more than a match for this vigilance ; 
and a single ride on horseback, a single wetting 
of the feet, or indulgence in the irresistible 
German, may entail lifelong misery, which the 
maternal or friendly guardian has done all in 
her power to prevent. I myself once knew a 
German lady who, married and childless for 


many years, confessed to me that a ball attended 
in her early youth was the cause of this mis- 

I have known of repeated instances of incura- 
ble disease and even of death arising from rides 
on horseback taken at the critical period. I 
have known fatal pulmonary consumption to 
arise from exposure of the feet in silk stockings, 
at winter parties. Every matron knows and 
relates these sad facts to the young girls under 
her charge. They are sometimes heeded, of- 
tener not. Nothing in our knowledge of youth 
would lead us to consider them as of rare occur- 
rence. And yet Dr. Clarke attributes most 
failures of the function and its concomitant, 
maternity, to the school education received by 
our girls. 

The accusation then of systematic neglect of 
the periodic function by the educators of youth 
among us cannot be admitted without more evi- 
dence than Dr. Clarke has thus far given us. 
That women in America particularly neglect 
their health, that women violate the laws of their 


constitution as men cannot violate theirs, and 
that the love of intellectual pursuits causes them 
to do so, this is the fable out of which Dr. 
Clarke draws the moral that women must not go 
to college with men. Fable and moral appear 
equally unsubstantial. If Dr. Clarke had said that 
the best men and women of the State, the wisest 
and noblest, should never allow this subject of 
education to pass out of their minds or out of 
their care ; if he had said that, after worthily 
receiving education, the first duty of man and 
woman is to secure it to the succeeding genera- 
tion, he would have pointed to the true remedy 
for all that is amiss on this head. The great 
increase in the study of physiology among us, 
and especially among women, must tend, we are 
sure, to a wiser and better self-culture and care 
of the young. Education is necessarily "line 
upon line and precept upon precept" The elder 
generation can only do its best, and trust to the 
docility and good faith of the young. 

The special character of Dr. Clarke's book 
provokes the question whether he has not un- 


duly specialized facts which are general, and not 
limited to any coincidence with that which he 
especially attacks, the education of American 
women, and their physique as affected by it. 
Is it wholly or principally in America that young 
women fail of sexual development, have imper- 
fect busts, are afflicted with ill-health and in- 
sanity, and in marriage are sterile, or if they 
have children cannot nurse them ? 

A well-known sentence of Solomon's shows 
that even in his time the female form sometimes 
failed of completeness. Rousseau says of one 
of the women whom he admired, " et de la gorge 
comme de ma main!' with a general slur upon 
all women so formed. In Paris has been in- 
vented and advertised an artificial bosom war- 
ranted to palpitate for a whole evening. It is 
not likely that this invention has been patented 
for the exclusive use of American women. 

To return to Biblical times, one of the persons 
healed by our Saviour was a woman suffering 
from what Dr. Clarke would call menorrhcea. It 
may be as well to remark by the way that 


during the twelve years of her suffering she had 
spent all that she had upon physicians, and still 
was nothing the better, but rather the worse. 
Sterility was common in the times both of the 
Old and of the New Testament. It is common 
to-day among the savages of Africa. It is by 
no means true that the women who themselves 
show the greatest physical development are 
always those whose offspring are the most 
numerous and healthy. Slender women are 
often more successful mothers and nurses than 
the stout sisters whose full outlines attest their 
\ own robusticity. Even as to the facts of nurs- 
ing, women with small breasts often have an 
abundant supply of milk ; while women with 
fuller outward development often have little or 

Andrew Combe in his book on Infancy speaks 
of the great number of infants who in Germany 
are brought up by hand. He gives most careful 
rules for rearing infants on artificial food, and 

does not treat this as at all an uncommon 


necessity. English women confined in Italy 


and other foreign countries proverbially lose 
their milk, and the profession of wet-nurse to 
an English family has long been one of the 
most common in Rome and Naples. Many 
German women in America are obliged to feed 
their infants wholly or in part, and many 
American women are good nurses and prolific 

Again we see in Paris papers advertisements 
of the new remedies, " which the patient herself 
can apply, and which will spare her the un- 
pleasant necessity of examinations," &c. Phy- 
sicians of large practice and experience are 
able, in all parts of the world, to chronicle many 
cases of uterine disease, of functional derange- 
ment, and of arrested development among 
women, in which cases no plea of excessive 
cerebral action induced by over-study is at all 
admissible. But Dr. Clarke sees disease chiefly 
in American women. In them reside leucor- 
rhoea, dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea, &c. In them 
are ateknia, agalactia, amazia. And the reason 
why they have all these evils is simply this, 


some of them wish to enter Harvard College, 
and some of them have already passed through 
other colleges. 

Now that the topics of sex and education 
need careful study and remodelling of ideas 
and methods, nobody is less disposed to deny 
than the writer of these lines. She is perfectly 
sure that the philosophy of sex is thus far 
little understood in America, or anywhere 
else. She has the same impression concerning 
the philosophy of education. The physical evils 
attendant upon the female constitution are as 
old as that constitution itself. They deserve 
and require the most careful investigation. But 
the feminine hygiene will be higher and more 
complete when it is administered by women. 
Personal experience adds an important element 
even to the closest and most scientific obser- 

Before this pet theory of the incompatibility 
of health with intellectual activity, for women 
only, was discovered, men of science speculated 
concerning the deficient busts of American 


women. The dry, stimulating climate was sup- 
posed, in a great measure, to account for it. 
The fact itself reaches back to the grandmothers 
of the grandmothers of to-day/. * It was and is 
chiefly observable in the northern and eastern 
States. As you go south, you find fuller forms, 
but not always combined with emptier heads. 
The effect of the climate of this portion of the 
country upon the masculine physique is equally 
noticeable, and has long been a subject of re- 
mark. Men here are for the most part wiry, 
sinewy, nervous, and brainy. If any of us, car- 
rying out Dr. Clarke's views, prefer to mate 
with men in whom flesh and muscle counter- 
poise the tyrannous nerve system, we too must 
go over the borders, and bring the progenitors 
of the future race from lands where the east 
wind blows not. But this reminds us of the 
well-known overplus of sixty thousand single 
women in Massachusetts alone. Dr. Clarke 
arraigns the mothers, actual and possible, for 
being no better than they are. But what is he 
going to do about the impossible fathers, in view 


of the coming generation to which he is so de- 
voted ? 

If one thing could be more astonishing than 
another in Dr. Clarke's treatment of his subject, 
we should give the palm to his consideration 
of the influence of climate on the human organ- 
ism. He is unwilling to consider it at all as 
a factor in the alleged ill-health of American 
women. According to him one hundred years 
are not enough to mould the European organ- 
ism in accordance with the American type. 
If this is really his opinion, his experience must 
have differed widely from that of others. I 
have observed important effects of modification 
produced by climate, in shorter periods of time 
than this. Two brothers of one family, resident 
in Boston, separated at the conclusion of the 
Revolutionary War. One remained in this city, 
one migrated to Nova Scotia. Those who at 
a later day were able to compare the children 
of these two gentlemen found the Boston family 
marked with every characteristic of the New 
England race, thin, nervous, wiry, alert, intense. 


The Nova Scotian family were stout, full- 
blooded, and plethoric, altogether of the Eng- 
lis^i colonial type. 

English families resident in India soon lose 
the freshness of their coloring and the fulnesa 
of their outline. In fact, the adaptation of one 
nationality to another is sometimes astonishingly 
rapid. Mr. Burlingame looked almost like a 
Chinaman before he died. The writer has seen 
an American official long resident in Turkey 
whose physiognomy had become entirely that of 
his adopted country. The potent American cli- 
mate works quickly in assimilating the foreign 
material offered to it. Two generations suffice 
to efface the salient marks of Celtic, Saxon, 
French, or Italian descent. The Negro alone is 
able to offer a respectable resistance. 

It may occur to some that the assumed iden- 
tity of the intellectual education given to girls 
and boys in America may have less to do with 
the ill-health of the former than the dissimilarity 
of their physical training. Boys are much in 
the open air. Girls are much in the house. Boys 


wear a dress which follows and allows their 
natural movements. Girls wear clothes which 
impede and almost paralyze their limbs. Boys 
have, moreover, the healthful hope held out to 
them of being able to pursue their own objects, 
and to choose and follow the business or profes- 
sion of their choice. Girls have the dispiriting 
prospect of a secondary and derivative existence, 
with only so much room allowed them as may 
not cramp the full sweep of the other sex. The 
circumstances first named directly affect health, 
the last exerts a strong reflex action upon it. 
" We are only women, and it does not matter," 
passes from mother to daughter. A very esti- 
mable young lady said to me the other day, in 
answer to a plea for dress-reform, " It is better 
to look handsome, even if it does shorten life a 
little." Her care of herself probably does not 
go beyond that indicated by this saying. Dr. 
Clarke cites a few instances of functional de- 
rangement. But by far the most frequent dif- 
ficulty with our women arises from uterine 
displacement, and this in turn comes partly 


from the utter disuse of the muscles which 
should keep the uterus in place, but which are 
kept inactive by the corset, weighed upon by the 
heavy skirt, and drawn upon by the violent and 
unnatural motion of the dancing at present in 
vogue. Is it any wonder that these ill-educated, 
over-burthened muscles give way, like other ill- 
trained, over-powered things ? Some instances 
of remarkable robustness in women have been( 
the result of a physical education identical with 
that usually given to boys. In these cases, the 
parents, after repeated losses of children through 
much cherishing, have at last determined to give 
the girls a chance through athletic sports and 
unrestricted exercise in the open air. And this 
has again and again proved successful. 

Much in Dr. Clarke's treatment of his subject 
is objectionable. We are left in doubt whether 
his book was written for men or for women, and 
we conclude that his method of statement is not 
good for either. Much of his remarking upon 
sex is justly offensive, and his statements con- 
cerning those single women of culture whom 


he terms agenes would scarcely be endured in 
any household in which these single saints bear 
the burthens of all the others, and lead lives 
divinely wedded to duty. The odious expres- 
sion which completes his picture of " the girls 
tied to their dictionaries," &c., would exclude the 
book, and the writer too, from some pure and 
polite circles. And we must say to him, with all 
due regard for the good intentions with which 
we desire to credit him, 

" These things must not be thought of on this 

I have thus attempted a brief addition to the 
comments of women upon Dr. Clarke's work, 
telling pretty plainly what I think of it, and why. 
But a full discussion of these great themes of 
Sex and Education can hardly be had in answer 
to a summons so sharp and so partial as his own. 
Not to dogmatize and counter-dogmatize upon 
these points will make either men or women 
wiser. Not for those who think they know every 
thing about the matter to discourse to those 
whom they judge as knowing nothing about it. 


These processes will always retard instead of 
advancing the discovery of truth. But when 
men and women may meet together for fair and 
equal interchange of thought, the men not want- 
ing in modesty, nor the women in courage, then 
we shall be glad to listen, if we do not speak. 
And if we do speak, we shall say, " Father, thou 
hast made all things well, and without thy wis- 
dom was not any thing made that was made." 




THOSE who are anxiously studying the prob- 
lem of the Education of Women may be trusted 
to read with eager interest this little book by 
Dr. Clarke. The author takes pains to recognize 
the intellectual ability of women ; and he puts 
on record a most valuable and emphatic denial, 
from his own professional experience, of the 
common assertion that American women habitu- 
ally desire to escape the duties of wifehood and 
motherhood. I should not call the book gener- 
ally coarse, but very needlessly rough and plain- 
spoken, especially for a book destined to popular 
perusal ; and the author certainly touches the 
verge of coarseness in his description of a possi- 
ble sexless woman. He, however, indulges in 
no unfair fling against the advocates of the 
equality of the sexes, except as far as is con- 


tained in the following sentences : " Woman 
seems to be looking up to man and his develop- 
ment, as the goal and ideal of womanhood. The 
new gospel of female development glorifies what 
she possesses in common with him, and tramples 
under her feet as a source of weakness and badge 
of inferiority the mechanism and functions pe- 
culiar to herself." (p. 1 29.) If this is intended to 
describe the " gospel " proclaimed by the " Wom- 
an's Journal," for instance, there is not a num- 
ber of the paper, from the beginning, which does 
not contain the material wherewith to refute the 
statement. And that it is not true of the agita- 
tion in America, as a whole, is shown by the fact 
that this movement has been constantly under 
criticism from European and Roman Catholic 
sources, for precisely the opposite tendency ; 
that is, for encouraging the study of physiology 
in schools, and for thus making young girls too 
well acquainted with those special laws of their 
own being, about which they were once studi- 
ously kept in ignorance. The two charges de- 
stroy each other: both cannot be true, and I 

2 C 


think that neither is. Certainly^ thejstrongest 
argumentsjnjavor of Wo^naji^uffrj^e-are^based 
not on the identity, but on the difference of the 

It is claimed by admiring critics, in regard 
to Dr. Clarke's book, that " his method is purely 
scientific." From this I should be inclined to 
dissent. The method does not seem to me 
purely scientific, but popular ; and not so much 
popular as 'clinical, that is, as if familiarly ad- 
dressed by a physician to a circle of students 
or patients, among whom the personal authority 
or popularity of the teacher might be relied 
upon to fill some gaps in the argument. The 
purely scientific method waives all such per- 
sonal prestige. Darwin offers his basis of facts 
as modestly and as amply - as if he were an 
unknown man ; and proceeds step by step, still 
fortifying himself, or stating frankly where he 
is unfortified. I have been a pretty careful 
reader of books on Natural History all my life ; 
and I cannot help thinking that contemporary 
science offers a standard, both as to facts and 


inferences, whose demands are hardly met by 
the book now under discussion. 

Let us consider, first, Dr. Clarke's facts, and 
then his inferences. 

I. Dr. Clarke s Facts. 

I certainly am conscious of no manner of bias 
against Dr. Clarke, who was my townsman and 
college classmate ; and I opened his pages, 
honestly hoping to find an array of facts that 
should be impressive both by their quality and by 
their quantity. To show, by citing individual 
instances, that the pressure of our school sys- 
tem injures health very often, is not enough. 
To take seven cases out of a physician's note- 
book, and then assure us that there are a good 
many more, is not enough. Yet this is pre- 
cisely what Dr. Clarke does ; and, strange to 
say, one of these is the case of an actress and 
another of a clerk, leaving only five educational 
instances in all. This does not seem to me 
what would be called, in any other branch of 
science, a satisfactory basis of facts. For in- 


stance, I open the last " American Naturalist," 
and find Professor Wilder thus criticising the 
new work on " The Cerebral Convolutions 
of Man," by Ecker : " The value of such a gen- 
eralization might be estimated if the author 
had given us the number of individuals upon 
which it is based." This is precisely the criti- 
cism I should make on the generalizations of 
Dr. Clarke. 

That our edur^onal system is faulty on the 
physiological side is an old story. The evil 
has been under discussion, in a general way, 
for years, by Horace Mann, Dr. Howe, Dr. 
Butler of Providence, and by myself, among 
others, in a paper called " The Murder of the 
Innocents," published in the " Atlantic Month- 
ly " for September, 1859, an d afterward included 
in " Out Door Papers." It seems to me that 
what is most needed is not the mere reiteration 
of those facts, even if more ably and con- 
vincingly stated, but rather to show by careful 
and discriminating statistics to what extent 
girls have been injured, beyond boys, by the 



system. Dr. Clarke does not marshal his facts 
in any such way as this, and in some cases 
almost commits direct unfairness by the omis- 
sion, as, for instance, where he cites " Bits 
of Talk," to show the superior physique of the 
Nova Scotia children as compared with those 
of New England, and forgets to state that the 
italics he introduces are his own, and that the 
author of that book does not emphasize the 
superiority in the one sex more than in the other. 

It has been pointed out, again and again, in 
the <4 Woman's Journal " and elsewhere, that 
there are whole classes of facts to be had, bear- 
ing most closely on this question, which neither 
Dr. Clarke nor any physiologist opposed to 
co-education has yet attempted to obtain. In- 
stead of shrinking from these facts, we are 
constantly begging for them. Until they are 
obtained, systematized, and displayed, the whole 
argument of Dr. Clarke has but an insufficient 
basis of facts. They are such as these : 

I. We need facts as to the comparative physi- 
ology of American women in different localities. 


There are highly educated communities and 
very uneducated communities. Has Dr. Clarke, 
or any one, compared the health of women in 
cities and in country towns ; in cities with 
good schools and cities with poor schools ; or 
in highly educated States like Massachusetts 
and Connecticut, as compared with States where 
the climate is similar, but the school system 
less thorough ? The standard of female educa- 
tion is not very formidably high in Pennsylva- 
nia, where they also have an equable climate, 
no east winds, and most comfortable living ; 
and yet one of Dr. Clarke's severest statements 
as to female debility (p. 113) comes from Penn- 
sylvania. In country villages I could name, 
where there are only very poor district schools, 
kept for less than half the year, the traveller 
constantly observes, among the farmers' daugh- 
ters, cheeks as pale and vitality as deficient as 
in the best educated metropolis. 

2. Again, we need facts as to American-born 
women of different races. Dr. Clarke says of a 
century, "that length of time could not trans- 


form the sturdy German fraulein and robust 
English damsel into the fragile American miss." 
(p. 1 68.) How does he know it could not ? I 
have seen this change very nearly effected, in a 
single generation, among the children of Eng- 
lish, Irish, French Canadians, and even the Nova 
Scotians whom he so praises ; and this in fam- 
ilies where even reading and writing were rare 
accomplishments. As far as I can observe, the 
effect of climate, change of diet, change of living, 
on all these classes, is almost sure to produce 
the same result of delicacy, almost of fragility, in 
the second generation, with or without school- 
ing ; and among the boys almost as much as 
among the girls. A physician in a large manu- 
facturing town once told me that the unhealth- 
iest class of the community, in his opinion, 
consisted of the sons of Irish parents. 

3. We need also the comparative physiology 
of different social positions. As a rule, the 
daughters of the wealthy in America, who are 
sent to private schools, or taught by govern- 
esses, are far less severely taxed, as to their 


brains, than the daughters of the middle classes, 
who go to the public schools. Is Dr. Clarke pre- 
pared to show that those of the former class are 
decidedly more healthy ? If so, this is another 
point that would have a direct bearing on his 
argument. My own impression is that he would 
find it hard to prove this. ' 

4. But there is still a fourth class of facts, 
only to be obtained by an extensive record of 
individual instances. Letting go all discrimi- 
nations of locality, race, and social position, and 
looking only at individuals under similar con- 
ditions, is Dr. Clarke prepared to assert that, 
as a rule, it is the hardest students in the school 
who become invalids ? He would say, on a 
priori grounds, that it must be so. But do 
facts show it ? Looking over families and 
schools that I have known, I certainly cannot 
say that the young girls who have lost their 
health were the most studious, quite as often 
the contrary. I have asked teachers of wide 
experience, " Have you observed that your 
best scholars have furnished the larger proper- 


tion of invalids ? " and they have always said 
" No." Yet who that knows the affection with 
which teachers are apt to follow the later career 
of their pupils will deny that this evidence 
has much value. Here is a fourth class of facts 
which have a direct bearing upon the subject, 
and the ignoring of which weakens the value 
of our author's statements. 

5. I am struck with the farther point, that 
Dr. Clarke seems to have entered on his inquiry 
in the spirit of an advocate, not of a judge, and 
to have taken absolutely no account of the 
physiological benefits of education for WODICH. 
There certainly are many instances all teach- 
ers have known them of great benefit to 
health, in case of girls, under the stimulus given 
by study. Either Dr. Clarke knows such in- 
stances, or he does not. If he knows them, he 
is bound to state them in such an argument ; 
and, if possible, to arrange and tabulate them, 
in order to set them against the instances on 
the other side. If he does not know them, it 
simply shows that, while the facts of disease 


impress the physician, the facts of health may 
elude him. This beneficial influence has been 
well analyzed by a woman of great sense and 
judgment, herself a college graduate, Miss 
Mary E. Beedy, now residing in London. I 
have lately had the pleasure of reading an 
essay of hers, about to appear in " Scribner's 
Monthly," on "The Health of English and 
American Women." In this she incidentally 
gives reasons why the health of studious girls 
is often better than that of any others, 
because their minds are happily occupied, 
because they are thus kept from social excesses, 
far more prejudicial than study, because their 
mental training improves their judgment and 
self-control, and because they are less reckless 
about their health in proportion as they have 
an object to gain. I quote these points from 
memory. Coming from a graduate of Antioch 
College, they are surely entitled to considera- 
tion ; and yet all the thought and observation 
of Dr. Clarke had not suggested one of these 
points to his mind. If he had thought of them, 


he would surely have mentioned them ; for 
they were essential to the justice of his state- 

It seems to me fair to point out, also, the 
insufficient way in which Dr. Clarke presents 
his authorities, when he goes outside of his own 
observations. The single statement which I 
have seen cited from his book, by the news- 
papers, twice as often as all others put together, 
is his citation of the opinion of " a philanthro- 
pist and an intelligent observer," that *' the co- 
education of the sexes is intellectually a success, 
physically a failure." Yet Dr. Clarke does not 
give the name of this informant, nor any thing 
but the vaguest hint as to the extent or value 
of his observations. The gentleman to whom 
the remark has been, I find, popularly attributed, 
Rev. C. H. Brigham, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, 
expressly disclaims it in a private letter to me, 
and he has recently published a statement looking 
quite the other way. Dr. Clarke also states that 
" another gentleman, more closely connected with 
a similar institution of education than the per- 


son just referred to, has arrived at a similar 
conclusion." (p. 144.) I must say, with due 
deference to Dr. Clarke, that this does not 
seem to me a scientific way of adducing evi- 
dence. During the hurry and excitement of 
the first days of our civil war, it was considered 
worth while to telegraph all over the country 
the opinions of " a reliable gentleman " or the 
statements of " an intelligent contraband ; " but 
we do not find such authorities gravely cited in 
the official reports of the " Surgical Results of 
the War." 

It seems to me, therefore, that Dr. Clarke 
by no means comes up to the recognized stand- 
ard of science either in the quantity or the 
quality of the facts on which he bases his argu- 
ment. But, granting his premises sufficient, is 
his conclusion just? 


II. Dr. Clarke s Inferences. 

In a first article on Dr. E. H. Clarke's work 
*' Sex in Education," some criticisms were made 
on his statements of fact ; and it was pointed 
out that all the cases actually cited by him, of 
special injury to the health of women through 
school education, amounted to precisely five. 
Since writing that article I have visited Vassar 
College, where I found a good deal of dissatis- 
faction to exist among the authorities, over one 
of those five cases, as stated by Dr. Clarke. He 
mentions a certain Miss D. who entered Vassar 
College at fourteen. The President and the 
Resident Physician assured me that no pupil 
had ever entered that institution at that age. 
Dr. Clarke says of this young lady that " she 
studied, recited, stood at the blackboard, walked, 
and went through her gymnastic exercises, from 
the beginning to the end of the term, just as 
boys do." The same authorities told me that 
this statement, taken as a whole, was an abso- 
lute untruth ; the gymnastic exercises being 


absolutely forbidden to the students at certain 
periods, and the greatest care being enjoined 
upon them in all respects. The President and 
the Resident Physician also expressed some 
surprise that, in a case of such importance, their 
testimony should not have been at least called 
for, instead of relying solely on that of the 
patient. I believe that it is customary among 
physicians to show some consideration or cour- 
tesy to each other in such matters, before putting 
cases in print which seem to reflect on the pro- 
fessional fidelity of any one. Be this as it may, 
this denial of fundamental facts leaves this in- 
stance at least open to suspicion ; and reduces 
Dr. Clarke's yet undisputed cases of injury to 
the health of girls, through schooling, to four. 
But suppose the instances were four thou- 
sand. Grant all his premises. What is his 
conclusion ? All that he demands of an educa- 
tional establishment for girls is that "the 
organization of studies and instruction must 
be flexible enough to admit of the periodical 
and temporary absence of each pupil, without 


loss of rank, or necessity of making up work, 
from recitation and exercise of all sorts." 
(p. 158.) And yet he goes on to declare that 
for Harvard College, for instance, to adapt itself 
for the introduction of young women, would be 
a thing so enormously difficult that it would 
cost two millions of dollars! (p. 151.) 

This is what is so inexplicable to me in the 
conclusions of the book. Grant all Dr. Clarke's 
facts, and all his demands, what follows ? Of 
course, in that case, those grammar schools and 
high schools to which girls are admitted must 
be essentially remodelled. These I waive. But, 
so far as our leading colleges are concerned, 
and Harvard in particular, I not only do not 
see why the remodelling for the admission of 
women should cost two millions, but I do not 
see why it should cost a cent. I do not see, 
indeed, why there is needed at Harvard any 
remodelling at all : only a quiet carrying out 
of what is already the marked tendency in that 
institution, to substitute elective for required 
studies, voluntary attendance on exercises for 


required attendance, and examinations as tests 
of scholarship in place of daily marks. Surely 
it cannot have escaped Dr. Clarke's notice that 
if he were having Harvard College arranged 
on purpose to suit girls, according to his formula 
just quoted, it could hardly be done by a more 
effectual process than is actually going on at 
this moment, without any reference to women 
at all. If this be so, why not extend this new 
system to women and let them have the benefit 
of it ? 

When Dr. Clarke and I were in Harvard 
College, every absence from daily prayers or 
recitation counted as an offence. Now each 
student is allowed sixty absences from prayers, 
almost one-fourth of the whole number, and 
no questions are asked until that number is 
exceeded. Then almost all rank turned on 
marks given at the daily recitation. Now there 
are departments in which no daily marks are 
given, and the question of scholarship is deter- 
mined by occasional examinations. To these, it 
would seem, Dr. Clarke does not object, for he 


says (p. 1 34) " it is easy to frame a theoretical 
emulation, in which results only are compared and 
tested, that would be healthy and invigorating." 
Yet such emulation as this is all that seems 
likely to be left at Harvard in the way of dan- 
gerous rivalry, when the present system shall 
have been fully developed. " The steady, un- 
tiring, day-by-day competition " that Dr. Clarke 
deprecates is being utterly laid aside ; and a 
more flexible system is being introduced for 
young men, which turns out to have also the 
incidental advantage of being precisely what 
young women need. 1 

It is a valuable discovery that, the more you 
transform a college into a University, the better 
it is adapted for both sexes. The same advan- 
tage may be noted on another point, the con- 

1 An additional illustration of this is in the resolution in- 
troduced at the meeting of Harvard Overseers, Dec. 30, 1873, 
and since adopted : 

" Resolved, That the Board of Overseers consents that for 
the academic year 1874-5 all rules imposing penalties or marks 
of censure upon Seniors for absences from church, and from 
recitations, lectures, or exercises other than examinations, be 

3 D 


sideration of which may throw light on Dr. 
Clarke's demand for two million dollars. I 
mean the question of dormitories. * If the ad- 
mission of girls to our colleges does nothing 
else but to break down the present system of 
brick barracks, and to substitute the simpler 
boarding-house system of Michigan University, 
it will be a work well done. Of course, if there 
must be duplicated for girls the vast array of 
dormitories now encumbering the scanty college- 
yard at Cambridge, it will cost a great deal of 
money. But just now, when all the boarding- 
house keepers of Cambridge are deploring their 
occupation gone by reason of these structures, 
it is the very time to introduce young women into 
the humbler quarters left vacant ; and why, in 
this case, will these students cost the college 
more than so many additional young men ? Once 
adopt the plan, which I believe to be the true 
one, that it is simply the office of the college to 
provide facilities of instruction, and that of the 
pupils and their parents (under the general super- 
vision of the college) to look out for food and 


lodging, medical attendance and spiritual guid- 
ance, and the increased expense of joint col- 
legiate education turns out a mere chimera. 
Were it ever so great, I should still regard it as 
the best way of spending money, since, in any 
case, the expense of providing for girls equal 
advantages in a separate college would be still 
greater ; but I do not see it to be great, or 
indeed to amount to any thing worth mentioning 
at all. Nor do I see why, even if we admit all 
Dr. Clarke's facts, he has given a single valid 
reason why our colleges should not admit girls 
to-morrow, making, as many of them have 
already made on other grounds, the necessary 
changes to secure sufficient flexibility of system. 
It therefore seems to me that, as his facts are 
not worked out with sufficient thoroughness to 
justify any general conclusion whatever, so his 
conclusion that our present colleges, and par- 
ticularly Harvard College, cannot, except at a 
vast expense, admit women, is utterly unsus- 
tained by his facts. 




DR. CLARKE'S " Sex in Education " would have 
been an invaluable addition to popular works 
on hygiene, if it had been written in a different 
spirit, without insult to woman, whom the 
author professes to respect, and whom he pro- 
nounces to be capable of as extended education 
as men are. This admission on his part is 
actually overlooked by many of his reviewers, 
because their feelings are so hurt by his un- 
gentlemanly jeers, and- his vulgar attack upon 
the noble army of unmarried women, who are 
often in the respectable ranks of " spinster- 
ism," as he calls it, out of self-respect, and be- 
cause their ideal of the marriage state is far 
beyond that of the average woman. 

The average woman has unfortunately been 
educated to consider matrimony more respect- 


able than the state of single blessedness, which 
has thus been well named when compared with 
the heartless or heart-breaking condition of in- 
compatible or unworthy marriage. Probably not 
one of these women would have refused marriage 
if the conditions she required had been fulfilled, 
but without these her self-respect would have 
been compromised. Probably the sentiment of 
love has been awakened in the breasts of all. It 
would be unnatural, I concede, if it were not so. 

" God gives us love, 
Something to love he lends us ; " 

but it is far better for the soul to live in an ideal 
union with a possible twin-soul than to enter 
marriage upon a low plane of thought or feeling. 
When this most vital institution of society is 
demoralized by worldliness, cupidity, or other of 
the manifold forms of selfishness, the greatest 
unhappiness is sure to follow ; on the principle 
that the corruption of the best is the worst. It 
is in this fatal disappointment of life that we 
see the undeveloped women ; and many a young 


woman, who has an opportunity to make the 
observation, is made cautious of trusting her 
happiness to what appears to be, and has justly 
been called, " the lottery of life." It seems in- 
credible that a man who has had Dr. Clarke's 
opportunity of seeing domestic life has not real- 
ized that unfortunate marriages are the circum- 
stances under which the harmonious development 
of nature is arrested and perverted. Such cir- 
cumstances stunt growth and spoil family life, 
and the children who are its unhappy result. 
Indeed, the idea with which many women enter 
into the married state, even when their affections 
are engaged in it, pervert and maim the develop- 
ment of the human being, and often end in a 
loss of faith in human nature. This idea is that 
the oneness of the union is the oneness of the 
man, and not a new oneness born of the union. 
The assumption of the authority of the average 
husband extends even to the opinion of the wife ; 
so that there is often a concession to a para- 
mount will where the wife is the superior by 
nature. It is the freedom from this bondage 


which constitutes the happiness of single bless- 
edness, and is at the root of the unhappy ten- 
dency to divorce which is characteristic of our 
times. Far higher is the unmarried state, as 
a condition for the development of the human 
being, than this low state of marriage, which 
latter in its ideal form is a condition of mutual 
growth. A new code of morals is needed in this 
regard. It is not a mere matter of speculation, 
for in true marriage the ideal is realized. The 
one will is only truly one when based upon per- 
fect freedom and mutual sacrifice, which indeed 
is not conscious sacrifice, but only a loving con- 
tention for self-renunciation. 

I believe it is a fact that the higher the state 
of civilization and refinement, the more unmar- 
ried women there are ; and yet Dr. Clarke could 
add his voice to the vulgar hue and cry against 
them. Such is the prevalence of this hue and 
cry that women who are not elevated above its 
influence by early inculcations of noble princi- 
ples, of self-respect, and of a lofty ideal, rush into 
matrimony because they are ashamed to appear 
to be unsought. 


The maternal feeling is as intense and pure in 
many unmarried women as in their married sis- 
ters. Indeed, if we each take an observation in 
our own circle, we shall see it far more devel- 
oped in many of them than in many married 
women, to whom children are a burden and a 
hinderance, and always considered and treated 
as if of secondary importance to their pleasures, 
and even to their more rational pursuits. The 
world cannot be divided in that way. The ma- 
ternal sentiment is planted in the heart of every 
sympathetic and affectionate woman, indeed, 
woman is abnormal without it, and, if not de- 
veloped by maternity itself, this sentiment may 
be so by right education, and thus saved from 
becoming a root of bitterness such as opinions 
like Dr. Clarke's are calculated to plant. How 
many an orphan child has found the very essence 
of motherly feeling and life-long devotion in a 
maiden aunt ! The man is to be pitied who has 
not seen this in his acquaintance with society : 
one almost wishes to cite names to prove one's 
words. Has Dr. Clarke no touch-stone within 


himself to prove such characters, for he must 
have seen many of them ? The maternal feeling 
is often more judiciously exercised where the 
passion of maternity what some moralists 
have called brute maternity has not been 
roused into activity by actual motherhood. I 
would farther explain this by a reference to those 
mothers in whom every other sentiment, even 
that of good wifehood, is absorbed by the ma- 
ternal feeling ; and where, if they are undisci- 
plined in mind, this feeling makes it impossible 
for them to see the faults of their children, or 
to allow any one else to note them, or give them 
any aid in their correction. Even the father is 
deprived of his natural right to share in the care, 
and is treated as their natural enemy if he criti- 
cises them. The loving but unimpassioned aunt, 
or co-operating educator, whose maternal feeling 
has been cultivated by her vocation, can see the 
facts more clearly than such mothers, and can 
often suggest the remedies. I think it may 
safely be asserted that the first proof of im- 
provement in the popular feeling about marriage 


will be the respect for those unmarried women 
whose independent lives bear the noble fruits of 
culture, benevolence, and devotion to human 
improvement. Dr. Clarke misses the truth 
greatly also in asserting that the advocacy of 
high education for women emanates chiefly from 
unmarried women. None are more eloquent in 
its cause than the mothers the good mothers, 
of course who have felt the pain of their own 
deficiencies of education when they found them- 
selves mothers, and too ignorant to fulfil their 
duties to their own satisfaction. " What can I 
do for my child ? I do not know any thing about 
its needs, or how to supply them : my own edu- 
cation had no system or definite object, and 
now I feel it worthless." Such complaints are 
continual, and give one the feeling that every 
woman should serve her time, be she sick or 
be she poor, in practical education, by actually 
being brought into contact with children, and 
being taught how to instruct them. I have 
often ventured the remark that the best edu- 
cated women I knew were those who had been 


practically engaged in education. I make it 
more earnestly than ever, for education is not 
merely the knowledge of sciences, languages, or 
systems of philosophy, but consists in the use of 
the faculties and their application to life thus 
developed by these and other studies. "The 
proper study of mankind is man," is an utter- 
ance that has often been quoted to prove that 
the exact sciences were inferior objects of pur- 
suit to the study of language and philosophy ; 
but man cannot be studied aright without a sci- 
entific basis, and this is the greatest argument 
for the complete education of women, in whose 
hands is the moulding of the human race. When 
they do not hold their normal place and func- 
tion, which they cannot do if uncultivated, 
the condition of such portions of the human 
race shows it palpably. 

But I must not, like many of Dr. Clarke's 
reviewers, forget that he concedes woman's right 
and her capacity for the most extended edu- 

Let us now look at facts in regard to the dan- 


ger of systematic and persistent study for women. 
One would think, judging by Dr. Clarke's " dread- 
ful little book," as some one has called it, that 
women had generally been educated to death, 
while the deplorable fact is that she has only 
been half educated at the best. When in those 
instances, few and far between, where high cul- 
ture was desired, the time for real study has 
come, the necessity for making up for former 
deficiencies has sometimes made it too severe. 
In half a century's acquaintance with the details 
of female education, I can remember no instance 
in which study has proved injurious to those 
who came to it in good health : excepted cases 
are truly exceptional, and not the average. I 
have also known instances where young women 
who were invalids have made a studious life their 
recreation, and have gained health and vigor 
meanwhile, all the happier and better for the 
intellectual life. 

The best remedy for too hard study at any 
one time of life is a thorough and gradual men- 
tal training from childhood up. The earliest 


education of both boys and girls is, generally 
speaking, aimless and indefinite. A certain 
amount of reading, writing, arithmetic, and geog- 
raphy are considered necessary, but instruction 
in these is not in itself cultivation* of mind. It 
may be perfectly arbitrary and wooden, done 
without any reference to or attempt to develop 
the nature. Even reading and writing need not 
be taught so mechanically as is done in the 
scfiools. Very little attention is given usually in 
American schools to the subject-matter of the 
reading : each child is called upon to read a sen- 
tence or a paragraph, in a reader, instead of 
having a work of genius put into its hands, which 
is to be read in company, and which is interest- 
ing enough in itself to chain the attention and 
to bring out the natural elocution by making the 
rest listen while one reads.* Geography is usu- 
ally taught by map and outline, with little or no 

* In making this criticism, and other possible ones, upon 
the schools, I ought not to forget that one teacher is expected 
to minister to the mental wants of fifty, and sometimes even of 
a hundred scholars, a relic of barbarism which it is hoped 
that time will ameliorate. 


descriptive or picturesque explanation of scenery, 
fauna, or remarkable natural features ; and arith- 
metic in as uninteresting a way, instead of being 
made living by being connected with geometri- 
cal science. Children's industrial faculties are 
not set at work, and the whole routine becomes 
tedious, is disconnected with life, and is shirked 
as much as possible. Very little training in the 
native language is given, and even in the most 
advanced public schools little attention is paid 
to the art of writing down thoughts and impres- 
sions, an exercise which can with advantage 
be begun in childhood. Boys and girls begin to 
study Latin thus without an interesting idea 
about human speech. 

Boys are at last set to work systematically 
to prepare for their higher education, and every 
aid is given them to make up for lost time. 
Girls sometimes share this training for a little 
while in some places ; but, as it leads to nothing 
in particular, it soon loses its interest, unless 
perchance they are preparing to be teachers. 
Girls rarely go far in mathematical studies, 


which are the basis of all scientific education ; 
and, if they study what are called the higher 
branches in schools, without this thorough 
mathematical training that boys have, it is very 
superficial study, and soon forgotten. In the 
exceptional cases, consisting of those whose 
strong native talent and favoring circumstances 
urge on to hard study, the necessity of making 
up for lost time may injure the weak, and even 
break down the strong, as is often the case 
with men. I do not believe the overstraining 
of the brain is any more injurious to young 
women than to young men, and it is not a thou- 
sandth part so common. The evil effects that 
appear at that time of life in both sexes are 
due to other causes than those Dr. Clarke points 
out so exclusively. He says there are other 
causes, but he passes them over lightly. One 
of his reviewers has pointed them out ably 
and in detail. As far as they refer to study, 
the system of cramming and emulation, in both 
public and private schools, should bear the 
brunt of his accusations. It would undoubtedly 


be far better for girls (or for boys) between 
the ages of fourteen and nineteen to be with- 
drawn from these, and study more calmly and 
gradually without the stimulus of emulation, 
and to defer the completion of their education 
in colleges till that tender age is past. 

I do not share in the fears expressed by Presi- 
dent Eliot, of a demoralizing influence from 
the co-education of the sexes. Experience has 
amply proved that such fears are groundless. 
Young men and women have long been edu- 
cated together in country high schools, in acade- 
mies and normal schools, and of late in colleges ; 
and the result has been satisfactory, a healthy 
stimulus, a great enjoyment, and productive of 
mutual self-respect. But I agree with him 
that Harvard College is not the place to try it 
in at present, for several reasons, the tradi- 
tional prejudice, the want of proper arrange- 
ments, the very low moral character of the 
college community ; but I think the history of 
Antioch College, where the system was car- 
ried out under great advantages, is a sufficient 


testimony to the success and good effects of 
co-education as well as to the possibility of har- 
monious persistent study for women. 

The only feature of it that was ever objec- 
tionable in my eyes has been the gathering of 
young girls into the preparatory school, where 
they could enter at the age of twelve. It is 
unfortunate enough to be obliged to send young 
boys away from home, but it is far more ob- 
jectionable to send young girls away. They 
ought to live at home while getting their pre- 
paratory education, and all the more if they 
are to follow it up with college life. Domes- 
tic life is made null to them thus. The only 
apology for having a preparatory school of the 
kind there was the fact that so many people 
live scattered in the West that schools are not 
accessible to them, and the preparation required 
for a college course could be obtained in no 
other way. My heart used to ache for the 
lovely little girls, separated from their mothers 
at an age when they should have been in 
their arms every night, with all those little 


confidences and confessions that mothers only 
can elicit. No matron could supply the moth- 
er's place, even if devoted solely to the office 
of mothering the children of a large boarding- 

But the case was very different with the 
young women who came to take a course of col- 
lege study. With an occasional exception, they 
were of an age and maturity of character that 
made them competent to take care of them- 
selves. One of the chief principles of that col- 
lege discipline was the absence of all emulation 
as a motive power. There were no honors to 
be studied for, there was not even a rank list 
to show comparative progress, there was no 
competition for pre-eminence in college gradu- 
ation, for every student was called upon to 
prepare himself or herself to speak ; and when 
the graduating class was large the speakers 
were determined by lot, and not by choice. No 
pupil necessarily knew how a fellow - pupil 
stood. If ill-health interrupted study, time and 
opportunity were given to make up the defi- 


ciencies without any publicity; so that* Dr. 
Clarke's objections to co-education on that 
score fall to the ground, as far as that college 
is concerned. The mental and moral influences 
of the mutual college life were very marked in 
the superior moral deportment and refinement 
of manners in the young men, and the un- 
excited and modest demeanor of the young 
women, both meeting with mutual respect for 
each other's intellectual and social claims. One 
or two instances of extravagant ambition for 
scholarship, and still more for dispatch, were 
the only cases of failure in health among the 
young women ; and these were not sanctioned 
or promoted by any stimulus from the president 
or professors. One ambitious teacher in the de- 
partment of the preparatory school, who wished 
the pupils in her classes to make a greater 
show than others, was duly checked by inter- 
ference from the seats of authority. The health 
of both the young men and women improved 
in a marked manner during their college life. 
Many came with no knowledge of hygiene or 


theif own physiological need, and special in- 
struction was given in those branches of knowl- 
edge. The health of the girls was much better 
than that of the young men. 

Young women who came with their systems 
out of order, through ignorance and unhealthy 
living, were greatly benefited, and sent home to 
spread the knowledge they had gained. But 
one death of each sex occurred in six years (the 
period of which I write), and they were both 
cases of poisoning by food in metallic vessels ; 
yet the hardships were great during the first 
years, and the exposures rather exceptional, 
owing to the poverty of the food and the in- 
adequacy of the buildings as to ventilation and 
water supply. 

Regular occupation and mental activity are 
as good for women as for men. Dr. Clarke 
probably judges of women by the invalids he 
has tended ; and his observations have been 
chiefly limited, to all appearance, to the un- 
healthful life and habits of cities. It cannot be 
hard study that has chiefly injured the young 


women he has known, for I suspect few have 
ever undertaken it. It has been late hours, 
fashionable dress, with its necessary sacrifice of 
warmth and ease, hot houses and school-rooms, 
and unnatural cramming to meet the demands 
of unhealthy emulation. 

The educators of our private institutions for 
girls will testify that they have found it diffi- 
cult to induce their pupils to a continuous and 
thorough course of study. The demands of 
society, as it is called, have been allowed to 
interfere ; and fashionable schools have lived by 
fashion rather than by merit. One of the ablest 
teachers of a private high school in Boston tes- 
tified that her school suddenly rose to unex- 
ampled popularity without any internal changes, 
because one or two fashionable girls entered 
it ; and it as suddenly settled back to its usual 
numbers because they and their followers left 
it in dudgeon for some cause. All such edu- 
cators know the frail tenure upon which they 
hold their city schools ; and even gentlemen 
who have taught young ladies' schools have 


experienced the same sudden reverses. In the 
late movement for higher education in Boston, 
one of the most earnest women in the cause, 
when it was suggested to her that the girls in 
high life did not, as far as educators could judge, 
care for higher education, replied, " We must 
make it fashionable, and then they will care 
for it." 

No, the demand comes from a very different 
quarter, from those whose means cannot com- 
mand facilities to meet literary, artistic, or scien- 
tific aspirations, and who are willing to make 
sacrifices for education. If Dr. Clarke had 
assailed the abuses of society, children's par- 
ties, fashionable dress in its features of bare 
neck and limbs, thin shoes, sudden change of 
costume, late hours, and a thousand hardships 
and exposures to which the less favored classes 
of society are subjected, he would have done 
better service than by discouraging women's 
systematic education, and throwing obstacles in 
the path of their culture. Still deeper, I would 
again testify, is the wrong he has done to 


women by assailing those who devote 
lives to charity, to their own culture and to the 
culture of others, and whom those who know 
them feel would be profaned by worldly mar- 
riages. The children they act for rise up and 
call them blessed, and by their affection go far 
toward making up to them for the lost rapture 
of actual motherhood. 




No thoughtful reader can fail to appreciate 
the nobleness of the purpose that actuated Dr. 
Clarke in writing " Sex in Education." No lov- 
ing and thinking mother can lay aside the book, 
after reading the first pages, until the whole is 
perused. But no candid woman teacher, with 
the interests of education for girls deeply at 
heart, can quietly allow Dr. Clarke's statement 
to pass without wishing to suggest essential 
modifications of its main idea. 

In her double capacity of teacher and mother, 
the writer of the present article begs leave to 
call the attention of other mothers and teachers 
to a few facts bearing upon the other side of 
this quczstio vexata. 

And, to begin with that branch of the subject 
which is least essential, since education stands 


\>zimz co-education in all minds, and, so that we 
obtain the former, we will not insist too strongly 
upon the latter, Dr. Clarke quotes the opinion 
of "a philanthropist and an intelligent observer," 
holding an official connection with a college for 
men and women, that " the co-education of the 
sexes is intellectually a success, physiologically 
a failure." He does not state the facts from 
which this inference is drawn. Doubtless this 
observer has known instances where women who 
studied in classes with men finally succumbed to 
disease, as did some of their male classmates, in 
all probability. 

But what gives him the power to decide that 
the proportion of the sufferers among the female 
graduates is greater than that among their male 
classmates, or that the seeds of the particular 
form of malady which has prostrated any woman 
student were not sown, before the birth of the 
latter, in the organism of a mother to whose 
youth the opportunity for a liberal education was 
denied ? And how can he know that their very 
origin was not attributable to the lack of that 



knowledge of physiology requisite to instruct a 
woman as to the commonest facts with regard to 
the care of herself required by the approach of 
the sacred office of maternity ? And what proba- 
bility is there that, had the sufferer in question 
pursued one of the alternatives to a student's 
course, a life of fashionable folly,, or even one of 
common toiling, uninspired by the light of a 
newly awakened intellectual life, these germs of 
disease would have been less likely to come to 
fruition ? What are the grounds of belief that 
regular study is a prominent cause of physical 
degeneracy ? 

Facts of the nature of those stated by Dr. 
Clarke (in Part III., chiefly clinical) would 
doubtless be adduced by the observer above 
cited, were he called upon to substantiate his 
opinion. But, could we look at any one of these 
cases with the power to judge the hidden as 
well as the revealed causes in operation, con- 
sidering also what would have been the probable 
alternative adopted by the individual in question, 
had study not been her chief pursuit, is it not 


quite possible that the conclusion at which we 
should arrive would contradict that of the work 
before us ? 

One of the most striking cases mentioned in 
Part III. chances to have been known to the 
writer from the earliest infancy of the subject 
And, although the details of such a case are 
forbidden by many considerations, the circum- 
stance of studying in and being graduated with 
honor at a college planned for both sexes, and 
in which, indeed, she remained through the 
senior year only, was but a slight cause among 
the many that converged to menace, and finally 
to overcome, that rarely endowed but perilously 
poised organization. The congenial pursuit of 
the studies that were so large a part of her life 
probably delayed for years a result that dis- 
cerning observers saw imminent for her from the 
dawning of her conscious life. Neither " death 
from over-work," nor " death from unphysiolog- 
ical work," was a verdict to pass unchallenged 
in her case. 

Who that looked upon Story's bust of Eliza- 


beth Browning could come away without a sym- 
pathetic tingling, as it were, of the whole being, 
from the possibilities of suffering beyond the 
conception of most mortals revealed in that 
exquisitely sensitive face ? 

But Mrs. Browning did not go to a man's 
college, or to any college. She studied with 
her father at home, and could take all the rests 
required by the needs of her physical life. No 
college routine, but, possibly, the very absence 
of its regularity, was responsible for her suffer- 
ings throughout her life. God wrote on her 
organism the lines that could not be effaced by 
time or circumstance. 

Yet she could write, in that patient sweetness 
which was more wonderful than her version of 
" Prometheus Bound," or her " Drama of Exile," 
and which made her a glorious woman more 
essentially than a gifted poet : 

" Oh ! we live, Oh ! we live, 
And this life that we conceive 
Is a strong thing and a grave, 
Which for others' use we have, 
Duty-laden to remain. 



We are helpers, fellow-creatures, 
Of the right against the wrong : 
We are earnest-hearted teachers 
Of the truth that maketh strong, 
Yet do we teach in vain ? " 

No generalizations can be drawn from one 
case, or from seven cases, of women who have 
become invalids after working continuously " in 
a man's way." Far more numerous cases might 
be cited, by physicians and teachers, of girls who 
were seized upon by the Proteus of disease, as 
a retribution, let us think, for not having worked 
with the method of " a man's way," or for not 
having worked at all. Nowhere in our own 
country does the average woman present so 
feeble and diseased an aspect as in those parts 
of the West and South where education is of the 
smallest moment to her. Lacking the delicate 
beauty and the intellectual tastes of the New 
England girl, she also leads a life of greater 
physical suffering, and a more hopeless inca- 
pacity for usefulness. Is unremitting study a 
cause of the weakness of the Georgia planter's 
wife or the Cincinnati merchant's daughter? 


Facts in the writer's possession, through an 
intimate acquaintance, during the first ten years 
of its existence, with one of our Western col- 
leges, established for the joint education of the 
sexes, are somewhat significant as indicating 
whether, notwithstanding the many difficulties 
under which this infant college was obliged to 
struggle on, the education there given to girls 
was destructive or constructive. Out of twenty- 
seven women graduates (all that memory can 
recall in the absence of catalogues which might 
permit a full statement), nineteen have married, 
and eight have remained unmarried, so far as 
the writer knows. Out of these twenty-seven, 
graduating between 1857 and 1863, one only has 
died. All but three, whose post-graduate his- 
tory has been unreported, are known to have 
done effective work, for a longer or shorter term 
of years, in educational and other departments ; 
and a large number of them have blooming fam- 
ilies to "rise up and call them blessed." The 
writer has never heard of but three cases of 
even temporary invalidism among these women 


graduates, while a large number of the male 
students of the same classes have died, or been 
prostrated by grievous maladies. One of the 
three cases just referred to was the indisposition 
for some months of a lady who has since recov- 
ered ; and who has recently taken her eldest son 
to Germany, to pursue there her favorite study 
of music, to which she has consecrated, as pupil 
and teacher, a great part of her time for over 
twenty years. Another, confessedly bearing 
away the first honors of a class in which were 
graduated two of our successful Unitarian 
preachers, is now rearing a rosy family of boys 
on the shore of a Western lake, having taught 
most successfully for years in a high school. 

Another, yet unmarried, is continuing her 
studies in England, where her rare powers and 
ripe culture are winning for her the appreciation 
she years ago won from that long-time friend of 
a wise co-education, the editor of the " Liberal 
Christian," who wrote of her in glowing terms 
from St. Louis, the former field of her work. 

Another of these graduates, the mother of six 


remarkably fine, healthy children, is giving her 
husband the most efficient assistance in his work 
at the head of a Theological School in Eastern 
New York. 

Here, then, is a class of facts, small, it is true, 
but significant as to some not unhappy results 
of a liberal education for women, even though 
obtained " in a man's way." " By their fruits 
ye shall know them," said another Good Phy- 

" In the development of the organization is to 
be found the way of strength and power for both 
sexes," says Dr. Clarke. " Limitation or abor- 
tion of development leads to weakness and 

Had these women been denied the privileges 
of education which their natures craved so ear- 
nestly that they were willing, in some cases, to go 
alone to a distant State ; to borrow money to 
defray their school expenses, so that the first- 
fruits of their after-work went to cancel these 
arrearages ; to give up the attractions of life in 
New England, at the age when its charms are 


most alluring ; to spend, in a new country, in 
privation and close study, years that might 
otherwise have been squandered in dissipation 
or wasted in futile attempts to teach at the 
enormous disadvantage of inadequate prepara- 
tion ; had these women been denied the edu- 
cation they struggled for and obtained in the 
only way then possible, who knows what hydra- 
headed maladies might now be racking their 
bodies and distracting their brains ? Study, 
severe study, if you will, was their safeguard, 
not their peril, even in a physical point of view. 
Dr. Clarke justly shall we say generously? 
concedes the right of women to the highest 
culture of which they are capable. But the 
point of his argument turns^ upon the method 
of obtaining this culture. And just here, in a 
man's view of the case, seems a mighty diffi- 
culty arising. . But put one or two wise, mother- 
ly women on the faculty of each college where 
girls are admitted, (and what advocate for the 
liberal culture of women would think of sending 
girls to study where men alone preside ?) and 



woman's wit will speedily solve the great prob- 
lem of " the periodical remission from labor." 

'Assume that each girl student must rest 
entirely from brain-work three days out of every 
thirty, and the average of work could be easily 
brought up by a little exercise of common sense 
on the part of teacher and pupil. But it is not 
to be assumed that every girl, or that one girl 
out of ten, must rest three days, or even one 
day, out of thirty. Not unfrequently girls who 
afterwards developed into sound, healthy matrons, 
standing the wear and tear of life in a manner to 
astonish vigorous men hardly able to hold their 
own in the rush of our American life, have been 
known to attend, without a single exception, 
every recitation of their classes for years, even 
when going daily from quite a distance to school 
or college. A moderate and regular use of the 
mental faculties, such as should alone be per- 
mitted in our schools and colleges, with ample 
margins each week for the exigencies of life for 
both sexes, has been again and again proved to 
be conducive to the highest physical health for 
women as well as men. 


A few years ago a young girl of sixteen, who 
had left school under a physician's advice, be- 
cause of certain irregularities in her physical 
health, was rapidly passing into such a state of 
apathy to things ordinarily attractive to the 
young, that wise friends feared the result of in- 
sanity. As a last resort, she was placed in a 
school where, amid pleasant companionship, her 
faculties were gently though regularly stimulated. 
She soon began to revive under a regimen of 
mathematics, languages, and art-culture, and in 
two years was in a state of perfect health. Dur- 
ing these entire two years she was not absent 
from school more than three times, nor did she 
ever fail to prepare a lesson. Here regularity of 
study was not a source of disease, but, appar- 
ently, its cure. 

But the instances in point, thronging the mind 
of the writer, would tax the patience of the 
reader unjustifiably. Passing over those omis- 
sions and oversights in the book, so happily 
specified in notices like that of the " Advertiser " 
and the " Liberal Christian," a few words more 


must close this already too long reference to this 
timely and, in many respects, valuable essay. 

The evil to which our wise and kind physician 
refers, is surely not to be overlooked. It exists ; 
it stares at us from early graves, and, far worse, 
from homes whose central figures are afflicted 
with life-long sufferings before which the stout- 
est-hearted men might quail. 

What is its remedy ? Does our earnest-hearted 
friend propose one which the exigencies of life 
will permit women to adopt ? Has any writer 
suggested a cure for this menacing ill? 

If a warning trumpet is to be blown, shall no 
one be found to herald also the hope of better 
things ? 

Let a woman's voice be heard pleading, not 
for less work or less constant work, but for a 
wiser method of work in our schools ! Let a 
ban be put upon public exhibitions of both boys 
and girls in schools ! Let the worry arising 
from a false system of marks for recitations, and 
from all comparisons and competitions, be ban- 
ished forever ! Let the notion that girls must 


recite all their lessons while standing vanish 
from the minds of both teachers and physicians ! 
The use of the feet is not essential to a good lo ( a 


translation from Homer or Goethe ; and even 
the Calculus has been mastered by students who, 
for the most part, sat at recitations. Let even- 
ing parties, and the various forms of tempting 
amusements which beset our young people while 
attending to the serious work of their education, 
be as strictly forbidden to them as they are 
to their infant brothers and sisters yet in the 
nursery! Let the tyrannous fashion-plate be 
consulted less than the laws of harmonious col- 
oring and real fitness of contour! 

Above all, let the beginnings be right I Re- 
member that far more valuable work can be done 
for the education of any human being, and espe- 
cially of a girl, by reason of her threefold nature, 
between the ages of seven and fourteen than 
between fourteen and nineteen. Let our girls 
remain girls till they have reached the estate of 
womanhood. Let their development be gradual 
and normal, not forced and spasmodic ; and we 


shall have no hothouse flowers to fade and die 
at the first touch of the ruder air of real life, but 
blossoms that are the pledge of coming fruit. 

It would be unjust and ungrateful in any wo- 
man not to recognize the fact that Dr. Clarke's 
book was necessarily written in haste, in hours 
snatched from his absorbing labors in alleviating 
the sufferings of those for whose good he wrote. 
It was doubtless this haste that rendered possi- 
ble such a verbal error as occurs on page 35, 
where he hides the venerable Ulysses, instead 
of the youthful Achilles, among the maidens. 

In conclusion, we would insist not only that 
the diseases so often referred to do not originate 
generally in the schools, but that the only way 
in which they can be reached and cured is 
through the instruction imparted and the reg- 
ularity of life, in all its details, required by wisely 
conducted schools, covering the whole period 
from early girlhood to full maturity. 




"THE hand of iron in the glove of silk!" How 
utter one word in the face of testimony like 
this, honest, conscientious, earnest ; adding to 


the highest professional reputation all the force 
of a pure and noble individual character ? How 
do it, still further, in the face of personal ob- 
ligations accumulating for more than twenty 
years, and of that loving respect with which the 
physician who is also priest is held in every 
household ? I have anticipated this book with 
pain. I lay it down with pain, far sharper and 
far different from any that I foresaw. I start 
from the same premises with Dr. Clarke ; for I 
believe the spiritual and intellectual functions 
of men and women to tend differently to their 
one end ; and their development to this end, 
through the physical, to be best achieved by dif- 


ferent methods. But I do not believe that any 
greater difference of capacity, whether physical 
or psychical, will be found between man and 
woman than is found between man and man ; 
and my faith in the co-education of the sexes 
has been greatly stimulated by the present in- 
elastic method, from which many boys do shrink 
as much as any girl could. 

Under a proper system boys and girls help 
each other forward, not merely towards excel- 
lent scholarship, but towards a perfect human- 
ity, that is, a perfect self-possession, the 
attainment for each of a sound mind in a sound 
body. To understand this, however, not even 
the President of Harvard will find possible un- 
less he does more than look at a mixed college. 
To have any fair comprehension of the elements 
which constitute its power for good or evil, it is 
necessary to pass at least a week within its 
walls, sharing the " college commons " and the 
college recreations ; studying its whole action as 
if it were a large family. 

When I laid down this book I felt the empha- 


sis of my pain in a direction wholly unexpected. 
Every woman who takes up her pen to reject 
its conclusions knows very well that it will 
penetrate hundreds of households where her 
protest cannot follow ; and Dr. Clarke must be 
patient with the number and weight of our re- 
monstrances, since he knows very well that 
upon the major part of the community our 
words will fall with no authority, our experiences 
invite no confidence. We must gain the public 
ear by constant iteration, and by our " impor- 
tunity " prevail. This book will fall into the 
hands of the young, and that I deplore. They 
should be taught the proper care of their grow- 
ing bodies ; but any such cases of disease as 
are here recorded are fruitful of evil stimulus 
to any girl inclined to hysterics. If this subject 
ought to be discussed publicly at all, a matter 
open to doubt, teachers and mothers should dis- 
cuss it. No amount of professional skill can 
avail in place of that sympathetic intuition of 
causes which should spring from identical physi- 
cal constitution. In no pages that I ever read 


is the need of educated women physicians so 
painfully apparent as in these. I expected to 
find premises from which I should dissent, but, 
with the exception of that upon which the book 
is based, I did not find any ; and, so far as it 
is an argument against co-education, the book 
utterly fails. 

Co-education does not necessarily include 
identical methods ; and, if it did, Dr. Clarke's 
examples of broken constitutions are brought 
from the clerk's desk, the theatre, and the 
woman's college, as well. His examples have no 
statistical value ; for nothing is told us of their 
proportion to the whole number of students of 
the other sex under the same precise conditions, 
or to the failures in the same number of girls 
educated tenderly at home. When the book 
passes from the methods of education to the 
effect of those methods on womanly functions, 
the treatment of the subject is both one-sided 
and incomplete. The only proper place for a 
discussion of the latter in extenso is the columns 
of a medical journal ; but this book is intended 


for popular use, and to the people must those 
who criticise it appeal. 

The most painful thing in the book is its tone. 
Mr. Higginson has said that it is not coarse ! 
Surely never was a sentence written that more 
eloquently betrayed the need women have to 
speak for themselves ! Women read this essay 
with personal humiliation and dismay. A cer- 
tain materialistic taint is felt throughout the 
whole, such as saddens most of our intercourse 
with our young physicians, but which we had 
hoped never to associate with this man, so long 
and so justly revered. The natural outgrowth 
of this tone are the sneers which disfigure its 
pages, the motto from Plautus, and a few most 
unhappy illustrations. 

These things might be easily forgiven to the 
immature student, as we pardon the rude man- 
ners of growing boys ; but should not our friend 
have denied himself the small relief of their 
utterance ? We cannot excuse the trait merely 
because the work has been undertaken in the 
midst of more pressing cares. We feel that it 


indicates something in the author which is no 
accident. We do not accept it as suitable in 
the " beloved physician " for whose delicate and 
thoughtful care so many have been grateful. 
He, at least, should have given us pages that a 
woman might read without a blush. 

We are sorry that he thought it worth while 
to invent a word to give point to his sneer. If 
there are any " agenes " in the world, surely we 
do not find them in the women who, seeking to 
do some good work in the world, have sought 
the development of their best powers in ways 
unwise or absurd, and have in consequence 
failed to satisfy the yearnings that they feel. 
" Other tasks in other worlds " await them, and 
the yearning may still prove the germ of a com- 
pleted development. The true " agenes " are 
the men who have lost manhood through vicious 
courses, and whose innocent wives will never 
hear the voices of their children in consequence. 
We look from the possible mother to the father, 
and I mean all that my words imply. It is the 
testimony of one even more familiar with the 


nursery and the sick-room than with the theo-f 
ries of the platform. The vices of men imperil 
the populations of the earth far more than the 
unwise studies of women. 

Very painful, also, is the witness these pages 
bear to the small number of wise and noble 
mothers among us, women who can so im- 
press themselves upon their daughters that 
they should follow modest and wholesome 
courses, as if by instinct or habit, and should 
shrink from all the possible unwomanly expos- 
ure which has made these pages necessary. 
Our author quotes a letter from a German 
mother, as if it could not have been written 
here. But the mothers of all my schoolmates 
lived as if they had written it, and it gives the 
experience of that portion of present society 
who believe in motherly influence and exercise 
motherly care. It is true that there are " fast " 
young women, with whom the restraints of 
proper feeling do not prevail ; but distinctions 
should be made in the writing. Refined and 
thoughtful women should be credited with their 


actual habits. Dr. Clarke has lost a most pre- 
cious opportunity. It was in his power to 
stamp the objectionable mode of life with its 
real vulgarity. If any fathers would but guard 
their sons as many women still know how to 
guard their daughters ! The revelations of this 
book are enough to chill any one with horror. 

In the writing of this book acknowledged 
statistics seem to have been wholly overlooked. 
More female infants than male survive the 
perils of infancy, and more girls mature into 
womanhood than boys into manhood. Will 
any one who looks carefully at the immature 
half-developed figures of our young men, or 
keeps the record of their vitality, claim that it 
is superior to that of women ? 

In all books that concern the education of 
women, one very important fact is continually 

Women, and even young girls at school, take 
their studies in addition to their home-cares. 
If boys are preparing for college, they do not 
have to take care of the baby, make the beds, 


or help to serve the meals. A great many girls 
at the High Schools do all this. Then, if a 
man who is a student marries, he is carefully 
protected from all annoyance. His study is 
sacred, his wife does the marketing. If his 
baby cries, he sleeps in the spare room. 

So far women have written in the nursery 
or the dining-room, often with one foot on the 
cradle. They must provide for their households, 
and nurse their sick, before they can follow any 
artistic or intellectual bent. 

When it is once fairly acknowledged that 
women properly have a vocation, they may be 
protected in it as a man is. At present there 
is* no propriety in making comparisons of re- 
sults in regard to the two sexes. 

It is in " education " that Dr. Clarke seems 
to find the sole source of numerous evils. It is 
true that he alludes to bad food and bad habits 
of dress, but so slightly that the reader might 
be justified in forgetting it. Of dissipation and 
precocious folly there is scarce a word. He 
alludes to " the pallor of our women " as if it 


were a new thing, whereas the second genera- 
tion born upon these shores bore witness to it. 
It was observed by travellers one hundred and 
fifty years ago. As to the endurance of the 
duties of motherhood, and the proportion of 
surviving children born to them, our women are 
far in advance of the first generation, born and 
reared across the water. It was a rare thing in 
that generation for man and wife to live together 
through the whole natural period of conjugal life. 
The men lived long ; but they had two, three, 
four, and more frequently than any one would 
believe who had not examined five wives. Nor 
can this be accounted for on the ground that the 
women were subj ect to uncommon hardship. The 
settlers of Ipswich, for example, were wealthy ; 
they built houses more comfortable than those 
they had left ; and they testify that one of their 
motives in coming to this country was the lack 
of pure water and good drainage in the old. 
Still their wives perished by the score. " The 
wind at Madrid will not blow out a candle," 
says the old Spanish proverb, " but it can kill 


a man." The change of climate was at the 
bottom of this early fatality. The condition of 
things steadily improved to the happy time that 
we all remember. If the last thirty years has 
checked the steady gain, let us consider patient- 
ly the era of French fashions, vices, and habits, 
the era of unnatural hours and pastimes. The 
movement in behalf of the higher education of 
woman is a very modern movement. No single 
generation can be said to have matured under 
its influence. It is too early to examine the 
results, but this is certain: whatever danger 
menaces the health of America, it cannot thus 
far have sprung from the over-education of her 

Mrs. Badger has already shown that the 
health of Southern and Western women, whose 
opportunities of education have been small, is 
even lower than that of our cultivated classes, 
a matter easily to be tested by any one who will 
watch the crowd pouring out of a western rail- 
road station. " The cerebral processes by which 
knowledge is acquired are the samp^Dt^JJq^ 

f rmi 



sexes," says Dr. Clarke ; but observing women 
will hardly admit this statement. I believe it 
would be hardly possible for women to become 
students if the processes were identical. The 
slowest woman who has any real power will con- 
quer a new study in about half the time of the 
average male student. Her method she does 
not herself understand. She has ways and 
means which are not apparent. I cannot be- 
lieve that any " Oriental care of the body " ever 
equalled the care given to the women of to-day in 
America. The women who are now practising 
as physicians in the harems of Europe and Asia 
find fearful ignorance and absolute superstition. 
For myself I can only say that I look for young 
women of the strongest physique at this mo- 
ment within the walls of academies and colleges. 
The regular studies, the early rising and retir- 
ing, the exercises in the gymnasium and the 
open air, the companionship with charming and 
cultivated women older than themselves, all tend 
to the most perfect health. This is a reproach 
to our homes, and perhaps indicates that care- 


lessness in mothers which was always avoided 
when I was young, not so much because its re- 
. suits were injurious as because it was in itself 
unwomanly and indelicate. 

Dr. Clarke fears that co-education will stimu- 
late women to attempt what the method of their 
physical life renders dangerous. Why, then, 
does he turn from Oberlin, Antioch, and Cornell 
to the one institution where co-education has 
never been, and will never be, attempted, and 
where the one fact of the resident physician 
and the resident " lady principal " should indi- 
cate to the most careless inspection a careful 
adaptation to womanly needs ? Or why, if he 
had an hysterical patient who happened to have 
been a pupil at Vassar, did he trust, without 
examination, to her statements ? I may chal- 
lenge an audience when I speak of Vassar ; for 
it is against my will if it fulfil any dream of 
mine. From the hour that it first went into 
operation I have been its frequent visitor. The 
president and faculty might have banished me 
as a spy, so thoroughly committed am I to the 


cause of co-education. Instead they welcomed 
me warmly, and gave me liberty and opportu- 
nity to detect every flaw. 

In a meeting of the " American Association 
for the Promotion of Social Science," held last 
May, I drew attention to the superior health of 
the girls at Vassar. I pointed out the fact that 
the health of the girls continued to improve 
up to the hour of graduation ; and while I had 
in my audience three members of the faculty, 
Miss Maria Mitchell, the resident physician, 
Dr. Avery, and President Raymond himself, it 
was observable that they heard me with indif- 
ference rather than pride, so perfectly familiar 
were they with the fact. The parents of all the 
pupils are also familiar with it ; and if Dr. 
Avery were at any moment to resign her re- 
sponsible post she would receive a warm wel- 
come in any community that had sent pupils to 
Vassar. The world may be challenged to pro- 
duce, in any one neighborhood, four hundred 
young women of so great physical promise. In 
the following June I met .Miss Mary Carpen- 


ter at Vassar by appointment. She 
amazement how close the actual 
the pupils came to the curriculum proposed ; 
but she concluded her investigation by ejacu- 
lating, with the peculiar emphasis that all who 
know her will recall, "And we must admit that 
they have superior health, it is most extraor- 
dinary ! " This was the testimony of one accus- 
tomed to the " rosebuds " in England's "garden 
of girls." In regard to the case reported by Dr. 
Clarke in connection with Vassar College, I was 
so sure that there was some mistake that I wrote 
at once to the resident physician, and she will 
be glad to be held responsible for the following 

The points will be perceived if the reader will 
refer to the 79th page of " Sex in Education." 
Vassar College does not receive students under 
fifteen, even for the first preparatory year ; and 
there is a preparatory course of two years. No 
student ever entered the freshman class at four- - 
teen. At the beginning of every collegiate 
year the students are carefully instructed re- 


garding the periodic precautions necessary to 
their health. They are positively forbidden to 
take gymnastics at all during the first, two days 
of their period ; and, if there is the slightest 
diseased tendency, are told to forego those ex- 
ercises entirely. They are forbidden to ride on 
horseback, and are strongly advised not to 
dance, nor to run up and down stairs, nor to do 
any thing else which will give successive, even 
though gentle, shocks to the trunk. They are 
encouraged to go out of doors for quiet walks 
and drives, and to do whatever they can to 
steady irritable nerves or unnatural excitement. 
That a student should faint again and again in 
the gymnasium, and still be allowed to continue 
her exercises there, is a statement that would 
not be made by any one familiar with the per- 
sonal physical care given at Vassar College, 
not merely by the resident physician, but by the 
teachers acting as a body. It is a statement 
that will be believed by no one in the least 
familiar with the college methods. The faculty 
do not attempt to cut down the work of each 


girl periodically ; but they do mean to so regu- 
late the work of the whole time that the end of 
no day shall find her overtaxed, even though 
that day bear an unusual burden. The average 
age of the graduates is twenty-one and one- 
half. The present freshman class numbers 

The girls begin the work of the year at the 
following ages : 

ii between 20 and 23. 

14 19 20. 

23 18 19. 

24 17 18. 
6 16 17. 
i 15 l6 - 

This is a fair average class, except that it is 
singular in the last item. That is almost the 
only instance in the history of the college of a 
student entering as a freshman under sixteen. 
Few are under seventeen ; seventy-two of the 
seventy-nine are over that age. Forty-eight, or 
three-fifths, are over eighteen. " Eighteen," 
writes Dr. Avery, "is young ^ enough for any 
woman to begin this course. At that age, with 


an average endowment of mind and body, she 
pursues it with gladness and ends it with re- 
joicing, as many of our classes can prove." 

I consider this a most valuable exhibit, and it 
is the book before us that has called it out. Vas- 
sar never yet insisted on a " regimen not to be 
distinguished " from that impressed upon boys, 
and her pupils are guided physiologically with a 
watchful tenderness impossible in most homes. 
Such care is quite as much needed by boys. 
Whenever co-education becomes a fact, the so- 
cial head of the mixed college must be a woman 
who will exercise loving motherly care for both, 
and who will find no practical difficulty in the 
natural differences. 

Of one other case cited by Dr. Clarke as an 
instance of over or unwise education, I had an 
intimate and sorrowful knowledge. The de- 
generacy imputed to excessive culture was, in 
fact, the result of a tendency inherited from a 
vicious father, a tendency recognized by its 
unfortunate subject with morbid pain from the 


Nothing will pain women more in this book 
than the assertion that " old age is sexless." 
Men and women do not lose the distinctions of 
perfect womanhood and manhood as they draw 
nearer to each other, unless we are prepared to 
account these purely physical. A woman ceases 
to be a mother only to fulfil the quite as sacred 
functions of the grandmother. She is set free 
from certain cares that a large experience of 
life may show her all the more fit for certain 
other cares, both social and philanthropic ; but 
if she be not to her heart's core womanly, even 
at the age of eighty, her life has been a failure. 
Man, ripening alike through success and reverse, 
grows nearer to woman as he grows old ; but his 
advanced life is also worthless if it cannot offer 
manhood's ripest fruit to her hand. Sweet 
memories of happy firesides, where the winter 
blaze crowned snowy heads with halos, bring 
the quick tears to my eyes as I write. God be 
thanked for manhood and womanhood completed 
at fourscore, as I recall them ! It would seem 
as if Dr. Clarke can hardly yet understand what 


a blow his essay deals at the industry of woman. 
Did the world accept it, the movement now ad- 
vancing would be checked in the bud. Thou- 
sands of women are thrown upon themselves 
for self-support at the age of fourteen. The 
moment that school-tasks are remitted three 
days out of thirty, clerks will leave the desk, 
servant-girls their accustomed work, shop-girls 
their counters. It is not too much to say that 
male labor must replace service as intermittent 
as this. 

I Having shown what the facts are in reference 
to the noblest institution for the culture of 
girls, I will add that I am utterly tired of see- 
ing any class of God's creatures singled out 
for especial care. Bad habits, houses built 
like packing-cases set on end, unwholesome 
food, precocious reading, have much to do with 
the ill-heath of American women. If they put 
their money into comfort instead of flounces, 
if they employed two servants where they now 
have six, much of their mental lassitude would 
disappear, and their bodies would bear witness 


to the release. It is time that a generation of 
healthy men were provided : the occult causes 
lie within their own control. 

The book before us may do something by 
rousing mothers and daughters to contemplate 
the situation ; but, if properly trained in wise 
homes towards average health, the ends of life 
will be far better served by the women who for- 
get their own inconveniences and think chiefly 
of those endured by others. 

Nothing is so absurd as to press upon a young 
woman's thought the idea that she is to become 
a mother. What if she is ? Let her make 
herself a healthy, happy human being, and what 
will may befall. What would be thought of a 
community which definitely undertook to train 
young men to the functions and duties of fath- 
ers ? A shout of derision would be raised at 
once. " Let us have citizens ! " the world would 
cry. I echo the demand. Mothers are no more 
important to the race than fathers. We must 
gain both by seeking first the " kingdom of 
God." People should live out their young and 


happy days, unconscious of this issue, as the 
flowers take no thought of seed. This is best 
done when their minds are occupied with 
other subjects than "periodicity" or " develop- 


BY C. 

A FEW years ago an eminent divine felt it his 
mission to expound to woman " the great facts 
of her being." He began his harangue with 
flattering admissions of her " intuitions " and 
" delicacy of taste ; " and, having thus secured 
himself a hearing, he proceeded to declare that 
"woman cannot compete with man in a long 
course of mental labor," and that " as for train- 
ing young ladies through a long intellectual 
course, as we do young men, it can never be 
done, they will die in the process." 

With the same conventional concessions to 
the equality of the sexes, Dr. Clarke introduces 
his plea for what, with great adroitness, he calls, 
" A Fair Chance for the Girls." 

"Abstract right and wrong," he says, "has 
nothing to do with sex. What is right or 


wrong for man is equally right or wrong for 
woman. . . . Both have a right to do the best 
they can, or, to speak more justly, both should 
feel the duty and have the opportunity to do 
their best. . . . Neither is there any such thing 
as superiority or inferiority in the matter. Man 
is not superior to woman, nor woman to man. 
The relation of the sexes is one of equality, not 
of better and worse, or of a higher and lower." 

"Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes." 

The old doctrine of woman's sphere shines 
with equal clearness from the pages of Dr. Todd 
and Dr. Clarke, though the latter carefully avoids 
the obnoxious phrase. Just as plainly, though 
in less offensive words, does Dr. Clarke announce 
his belief that woman was made for man, and 
that maternity is her only divinely appointed 
mission, with an unmanly sneer at those who 
fail to fulfil that destiny. 

The sneer is too studied to be accidental, and 
is to me the unpardonable sin of the book. Did 
the author willingly expose himself to justified 


attack on this point, for the express purpose of 
reaching the ear and heart of those superlatively 
weak women whom nothing can touch but a 
masculine sneer? Not quite believing in his 
own arguments, did he trust to satire to win him 
approval with that class of people for whom his 
book was written ? Surely he is not so ignorant 
as not to know that the jeer will only weaken 
the argument with all thoughtful people. But 
was the book written for the thinking people, or 
for those whom ridicule, not reason, convinces ? 
For those especially who fear masculine ridicule 
in all that relates to their external attractions ; 
for those who can endure all loss save the loss 
of admiration ; for those on whom an argument 
is wasted, while a sneer converts ? One may fully 
believe that the perfection of womanhood, as of 
manhood, is reached in a true marriage ; one 
may dissent from the opinion that man and wo- 
man, being equal, are therefore identical ; one 
may not yet be fully persuaded in her own mind 
that the co-education of the sexes is desirable : 
yet if she is an earnest and thoughtful woman, 


as anxious for the intellectual as for the physical 
perfection of her sex, she must feel the gripe of 
the iron hand under the velvet glove in all Dr. 
Clarke's admissions, coupled as they are with 
such limitations. "Without denying the self- 
evident proposition," says Dr. Clarke, " that 
whatever a woman can do she has a right to do, 
the question at once arises, what can she do ? 
and this includes the question, what can she 
best do ? ... The qucestio vexata of woman's 
sphere will be decided by her organization. 
This limits her power and reveals her divinely 
appointed tasks. . . . Each can do in certain 
directions what the other cannot ; and in other 
directions, when both can do the same things, 
one sex as a rule can do them better than the 
other. . . . Many of the efforts for bettering her 
education seem to treat her as if her organiza- 
tion, and consequently her function, were mas- 
culine, not feminine. . . . The lily is not inferior 
to the rose, nor the oak superior to the clover ; 
yet the glory of the lily is one, and the glory of 
the oak is another, and the use of the oak is not 
the use of the clover." 


" Whatever a woman can do she has a right to 
do," is so plausible as to satisfy the credulous, 
were it not for the ungenerous doubt contained 
in the inquiry, " But what can she do ? and what 
can she best do ? " questions which she is not 
to be allowed to settle for herself, but which Dr. 
Clarke hastens to answer by telling her "her 
organization limits her power, and reveals her 
divinely appointed tasks." She is entitled only 
to what she can attain as a woman ; and, being 
a woman, her attainment is limited by her organ- 
ization. What mother or teacher would have 
the heart to -say to the healthy girl of fifteen, 
just becoming conscious of her mental powers, 
" My girl, hitherto you have talked, romped, 
chased butterflies and climbed fences, loved, 
hated (and studied) with your brother, with an 
innocent abandon that is ignorant of sex. Here 
your paths must diverge. He will go out into 
the world free to attain the highest mental cul- 
ture of which a human being is capable. You 
were predestined to be a wife and a mother, and 
are therefore endowed with a peculiar organiza- 


tion. To develop that organization to that end 
becomes now your duty and mine." High med- 
ical authority has declared that " force must be 
allowed to flow thither in an ample stream, and 
not be diverted to the brain by the school ; " and, 
as the system never does two things well at the 
same time, you must no longer spend in the 
study of geography and arithmetic, of Latin, 
Greek, and chemistry, in the brain-work of the 
school-room, force that should be spent in phys- 
ical growth. Your power is limited by your 
organization. What robust girl to whom this 
should be said, but would feel her sex to be a 
galling chain, and her tasks any thing but di- 
vinely appointed ? " The use of the clover is 
not the use of the oak," says Dr. Clarke. " You 
must not try to make the anemone into an oak," 
says Dr. Todd. Not at all. I only find it diffi- 
cult to believe that a kind Creator intended my 
mortal body to be a hinderance to the develop- 
ment of my immortal mind, which physiology 
and theology both assure me he has made equal 
to that of my brother. 


This physiological scare is the most insidious 
form under which the opposition to the higher 
education of woman has yet appeared. I speak 
advisedly ; for, though this book professes to be 
a protest against the co-education of the sexes, 
and even against their separate identical educa- 
tion, I think it will be felt by the careful reader 
to be a protest against any high intellectual 
education for women. 

While the author claims to use the term edu- 
cation only in its broadest sense as " the draw- 
ing out and development of every part of the 
system," including necessarily the whole manner 
of life physical and psychical during the educa- 
tional period, it will be seen that he lays stress 
only upon the physical education of girls, and 
upon their physical education only as it is con- 
nected with the duties of maternity. Nowhere 
does he hold out to the girls the promise that, 
if they will carefully obey his injunctions dur- 
ing the critical period of their lives, they can 
with safety, and may with propriety, seek a 
higher mental culture. Nowhere does he urge 


them finally to demand the highest mental cul- 
ture, as he insists that they shall have the high- 
est physical culture, as their birthright. 

Moreover, that regimen which precludes the 
regular attendance of girls upon school, between 
the ages of fourteen and nineteen, virtually robs 
them of any extended course of study, since be- 
fore the end of that period their so-called duties 
to society are thrust upon them. 

Is it fair, in contrasting the ruddy cheeks and 
vigor of the English girl with the pallor and weak- 
ness of the American girl, to attribute the latter 
largely to the educational methods of our schools, 
and to credit nothing of the former to the simple 
domestic life of the English girl ? 

Let us " emphasize and reiterate until it is 
heeded " Dr. Clarke's statement that "jwpman's 
neglect of her own organization adds to the 
number of her many weaknesses, and intensifies 
their power." Let us reflect awhile before we 
accept his statement that "the educational 
methods of our schools are, to a large extent, 
the causes of the thousand ills that beset Amer- 
ican women." 


"Girls of bloodless skins and intellectual 
faces," he says, " may be seen any day, by those 
who desire the spectacle, among the scholars of 
our high and normal schools ; faces that crown, 
and skins that cover, curving spines which should 
be straight, and neuralgic nerves that should 
know no pain. ... A training that yields this 
result is neither fair to the girls nor to the 

Are bloodless female faces to be found only 
among the scholars of our high and normal 
schools ? 

When found there, what effort has Dr. Clarke 
made to ascertain how much of their bloodless- 
ness is due to brain labor ? Does he know any 
thing of the home life of these girls ? Is it not 
just possible that they may have been defrauded 
of their childhood, that in what is technically 
and prettily called helping their mothers, lifting 
and carrying baby, &c., their poor curved spines 
may have got a -twist long before they had won 
admission to the high school ? 

Are there no bloodless faces among the sew- 


ing girls who do not stand at their work, whose 
work is neither brain-work nor severe manual 
labor, but that most often quoted to us as the 
most suitable feminine occupation ? 

" The number of these graduates who have 
been permanently disabled, to a greater or less 
degree, by these causes, is so great as to excite 
the greatest alarm," says Dr. Clarke. Will he 
give us the exact number, so that we need not 
underrate or overrate the danger ? and, if it can 
be proved that two out of every five of these 
wrecks to which he sadly points, were stranded 
on another shore than that of a sustained course 
of mental work, it will tend to quiet the alarm. 

I do not wish to put out of sight the doctor's 
explicit declaration that "our school methods 
are not the sole causes of female weakness." 
He admits that "an immense loss of female 
power may be fairly charged " to certain delin- 
quencies of dress and diet ; yet he as distinctly 
adds that, " after the amplest allowance for 
these, there remains a large margin of disease 
unaccounted for ; " that " the grievous maladies 


that torture a woman's earthly existence are 
indirectly affected by food, clothes, and exer- 
cise ; they are directly and largely affected by 
the methods of education in our schools." Fur- 
thermore, he makes no demand that girls shall 
be as carefully protected from physical strain 
and from mental excitement in their social life 
at critical periods as he does that they shall be 
protected from the excitements of study. A 
paper that, after claiming to treat upon educa- 
tion as " including the whole manner of life," 
declares the discussion of dress and similar 
causes of female weakness is not within its 
scope ; that mentions these casually as indirect 
causes, and is silent concerning the social ex- 
citements of girls, which every teacher feels to 
be a fruitful source of disease, directing its 
arguments mainly against their mental training, 
does not seem to me to be written wholly in 
the interest of the girls. The writer leaves the 
impression, and he means to leave the impres- 
sion, that the regimen of the schools, if not the 
sole cause, is the prime and direct cause of the 


ill-health of American women. When he gives 
us statistics showing that the girls injured by 
co-education or by separate identical education 
outnumber the girls diseased by excessive muscle 
work, excessive mental idleness, or excessive 
social dissipation, it will not be necessary for 
him to plead the poverty of Harvard College in 
support of his theory. 

By his logic the girls in fashionable private 
schools, where the discipline is supposed to be 
more lax, the course of study more flexible, and 
the standard lower, should have better health 
than the girls in the public schools. Is it true 
that they have ? 

Teachers of fashionable private schools for 
girls in Boston to-day know that their pupils, so 
far from studying harder than they themselves 
did twenty-five years ago, study less. The hours 
of the school session are fewer, and much less 
time is granted for study out of school. They 
know, too, that the absences excused by sick- 
ness are far in excess of those of their own 
school-days. Looking, therefore, for some other 


cause than increased brain-work, for this de- 
generacy in the health of girls, they easily find 
it in the increased luxury and irregularity of 
their home life. 

Teachers of long experience testify that the 
health of studious girls is better than that of the 
lazy ones, because their minds are occupied hap- 
pily, and being also regularly occupied acquire 
a habit of concentration that is stability and 
strength for mind and body. The involuntary 
testimony of many a school-girl goes far to con- 
firm this. 

Sadder even than the bloodless skin and in- 
tellectual face of the normal-school girl is the 
not uncommon spectacle of the bloodless skin 
and unintellectual face of the girl in our fash- 
ionable private schools, whose mind has become 
so enervated by parental indulgence, so demoral- 
ized by constant social excitement, that, to use 
her own words, " the sight of a book makes her 
head ache." 

If we could make it impossible for little girls 
of eight to solemnize paper-doll weddings, from 


which the precocious guests, after refreshing 
themselves with lobster salad and candies, roll 
home in their carriages at ten at night ; if we 
could prevent the participation of their older 
sisters in private theatricals and the German, 
during the regular school-work of the year ; if 
the education of girls could be at least so far 
identical with that of boys that we could oppose 
common sense and physiological reasons to that 
absurd dictum of society which now thrusts girls 
of eighteen out of the school-room and into the 
matrimonial market, while their brothers of the 
same age are considered as mere lads and just 
beginning their education ; if we could take care 
that they are not overburdened with domestic 
responsibility as their brothers never are, and, 
instead of restricting their regular routine of 
school-work to the period between eight and 
eighteen, could extend it to the age of twenty- 
four, like that of their college brothers who study 
a profession, the girls .would have the fair 
chance which they now lack, both for physical 
and mental development. 


Meantime let the well girls, and there are 
hundreds of them, though of course not within 
the Doctor's range of vision, aim for the highest 
intellectual culture, not deterred by the fear of 
being stigmatized as agates. 

Can any woman read this book without feeling 
depressed, crushed by this cosmic law of peri- 
odicity which is to exempt her from nothing, but 
only to debar her from a higher education ? For 
the Doctor declares that "female operatives of 
all sorts are likely to suffer less, and actually do 
suffer less, from persistent work than female stu- 
dents, . . . because the former work their brains 
less." The regimen prescribed by the Doctor has 
so few attractions, the reward he offers is so 
paltry. We are to remember that " the glory of 
the lily is one, and the glory of the oak another." 
If we "pass middle life without the symmetry 
and development that maternity gives," we are 
taunted with the " hermaphroditic condition that 
sometimes accompanies spinsterism." We are 
not allowed to believe, with Alger, that "the 
qualities of our soul and the fruitions of our life 


may be perfected in spite of the relative mutila- 
tion in our lot." We are to "give girls a fair 
chance for physical development at school, and 
they will be able in after life, with reasonable 
care of themselves, to answer the demands made 
upon them." That is the summary. 

Whether intentionally or not, this book pan- 
ders to that sentiment of fashionable society 
that declares it unnecessary for girls to know 
any thing but to make themselves attractive ; and, 
what is still more to be regretted, it will tend to 
increase the selfishness and the imaginary in- 
validism so prevalent among girls and women 
who have nothing better in life to do than to 
think of themselves. 

The " wisely anxious " mothers do not need it ; 
and the injudicious mothers, who wish to make 
the schools responsible for their own constant 
violation of the simplest hygienic laws in the 
management of their daughters, confirmed in 
their weakness by Dr. Clarke's leniency towards 
their social sins, will eagerly seize upon it as a 
weapon of attack. 


It is easy enough to make vague and arbitrary 
assertions, and to point them with cruel gibes, 
far easier than to prove them false. It is easy 
enough to meet sneer with sneer, and to animad- 
vert upon such assertions with a certain piquancy. 
But neither the assertion nor the animadversion 
amounts to any thing without facts to support 

A physician of such standing and authority in 
the community that we are compelled to listen 
to him has made assertions which he has not 
yet supported by statistics. It behooves the 
earnest women, especially the faithful teachers, 
to satisfy themselves at least whether these as- 
sertions can be supported, in order, if they can 
be, to correct what is wrong in their present 
methods, and, if they cannot be, to do their part 
towards removing a false impression. 




THE only really serious thing about Dr. Clarke's 
book is the confusion of the author's ideas as to 
the precise defining line between a work adapted 
to popular instruction and a medical treatise. 
An author who forgets in the drawing-room and 
at the fireside that he is not in the lecture-room 
of the medical school, has put himself beyond 
the reach of knowing the real effect produced 
by him upon either the drawing-room or the fire- 
side. He may have done so with the deliberate 
intention of a theorist who does not desire to be 
answered ; he may have done so with the clear 
conscience of a zealot who desires only to do 
what presents itself to him as his duty. He has 
undoubtedly done so, at least, with motives which 
it were indelicate to call indelicate, whatever else 
might be said of them ; but, all the same, he has 


put himself beyond this reach. From the medi- 
cal lecture-room alone can he be answered. Only 
a physician can reply to " Sex in Education." 

It is to be hoped that, among the physicians 
whose professional rank may entitle them to a 
hearing as broad as Dr. Clarke's, some one who 
joins issue with him upon his principal physio- 
logical theory, may find the leisure to remind us 
what a blessed fact it is that doctors always dis- 
agree. Without the least desire to undervalue 
either the culture or the skill of the man from 
whom we differ, a little inquiry into the effect 
produced upon brother and sister physicians by 
his essay will reveal the fact that its author is not 
without sufficiently important opponents. " Sex 
in Education " having once been written, another 
essay, equally to the point, if a little more regard- 
ful of the old-fashioned prejudices of non-medi- 
cal society, should be written to mate it. 

Meanwhile it remains possible for any of us 
to say, in deprecation of the notion of woman- 
hood advanced by Dr. Clarke, two things. 

i. The physician is not the person whose 


judgment upon a matter involving the welfare 
of women can possibly be final. His testimony, 
worth what it may be worth, should seek and fall 
into its proper place in the physical aspects of 
such a question ; but it shall stay in its place. 
It is but a link in a chain. It is only a tint in a 
kaleidoscope. A question so intricate and shift- 
ing as that which involves the exact position of 
woman in the economy of a cursed world is not to 
be settled by the most intimate acquaintance with 
the proximate principles of the human frame, with 
the proportions of the gray and white matter in the 
brain, or with the transitional character of the 
tissues and the exquisite machinery of the viscera. 
The psychologist has yet his word to say. The 
theologian has a reason to be heard. The politi- 
cal economist might also add to experience knowl- 
edge. The woman who is physically and intel- 
lectually a living denial of every premise and of 
every conclusion which Dr. Clarke has advanced, 
has yet a right to an audience. Nor is he even 
the man whose judgment as to the health of 
women can be symmetrical. No clinical opinion, 


it will be remembered, bearing against the phys- 
ical vigor of any^class of people, is or^ can be a 
complete one. The physician knows sick women 
almost only. Well women keep away from him, 
and thank Heaven. If there be any well women 
he is always in doubt. Thousands of women 
will read that they are prevented by Nature's 
eternal and irresistible laws from all sustained 
activity of brain or body, but principally of brain, 

with much the same emotion with which we 


might read a fiat gone forth from the Royal Col- 
lege of Surgeons in London, that Americans 
could not eat roast beef, since, their researches 
into morbid American anatomy had developed 
the fact that Americans had died of eating roast 
beef,' as well as a peculiar structure of the Ameri- 
can stomach, to which roast beef was poisonously 
adapted. Thousands of women will not believe 
what the author of " Sex in Education " tells 
them, simply because they know better. Their 
own unlearned experience stands to them in 
refutation of his learned statements. They will 
give him theory for theory. They can pile up 
6* i 


for him illustration on illustration. Statistics 
they have none ; but no statistics has he. They 
and the Doctor are met on fair fight. 

Many a woman who stands at the factory loom 
eleven hours and a half a day, from year's end to 
year's end, from the age of eight to the age of 
forty-eight, knows better than he tells her. Every 
lady lecturer in the land, who unites the most 
exhausting kind of brain and body labor in her 
own experience, day and night after day and 
night, for the half of every year, and unites it 
in defiance of Dr. Clarke's prognostications, 
knows better. Every healthy woman physician 
knows better ; and it is only the woman physi- 
cian, after all, whose judgment can ever approach 
the ultimate uses of the physicist's testimony to 
these questions. 

It should be said : 2. Almost every fact brought 
forward by Dr. Clarke goes to illustrate the exact 
opposite of his almost every conclusion in respect 
to the effect of mental labor upon the female 
physique. With the serene, not to say dogmatic 
conviction of the physician whose own patients 


represent the world to him, he has copied for us 
from his note-books a series of cases exemplify- 
ing the remarkable unanimity with which girls, 
after leaving school, break down in health. Over- 
looking the blunder which he made about the 
student from Vassar College, which has been so 
carefully pointed out by Colonel Higginson (I 
refer to Dr. Clarke's implicit and unhesitating 
acceptance and publication of statements made 
by the student, which the faculty of the college 
have since altogether denied) ; not pausing to dis- 
cuss the spirit which grasps at uninvestigated 
testimony like this, run the eye over his illus- 
trations, and what have we ? 

With an affluent accompaniment of office detail 
so evidently necessary to the public discussion of 
an educational topic, and so unlikely to attract a 
purely irrelevant and unworthy attention to the 
circulation of the essay that one cannot fail to 
note the author's generosity in this particular, he 
calls our consideration to his list of cases, argu* 
ing detachedly, by the way, and ingeniously con- 
structing for our benefit very much such a 
syllogism as this. 


Sumption. All women ought to be incapable 
of sustained activity. 

Subsumption. Some women whom I have 
known are incapable of sustained activity. Miss 
X. became an invalid soon after leaving school. 
Miss Y. was injured by gymnastic exercises, fell 
under my care, and will never be well. Miss Z. 
became an invalid soon after leaving school, and 
being for some time under my treatment was 
sent to an insane asylum. 


Conclusion : All women are incapable of sus- 
tained activity, but proved especially incapable of 
sustained brain activity ; and, since it would cost 
Harvard College several millions of dollars to 
admit them, co-education is a chimera, and old 
maids a monstrosity at which physicians may 
sneer, and by which young women should take 

Or, to put it in another form, more compactly, 

As long as girls are in school they are (with 
exceptions so rare that I have had great difficulty 
in finding them) in excellent health. 


When girls leave school, they fall sick. 

Therefore it is sustained study which injure 

Here, now, is the point of fair dispute. Why 
do girls so often become invalids within a few 
years after leaving school ? The fact is a famil- 
iar one. We needed no Dr. Clarke come from 
their graves to tell us this. We are well accus- 
tomed to the sight of a fresh young girl, a close 
student, a fine achiever, " sustained " in mental 
application, and as healthy in body as she is 
vigorous and aspiring in brain, sinking, after a 
period of out-of-school life, into an aching, ailing, 
moping creature, aimless in the spirit and useless 
in the flesh for any of life's higher purposes, 
with which her young soul was filled and fired 
a little while ago. 

" You may be well enough now. Wait till 
you are twenty four or five. That is the age 
when girls break down." This is the doleful 
prophecy of friends and physicians cast cold on 
the warm hopes of our hard-working, ambitious 
girls. " It is because you keep late hours, dance 


too much, eat indigestible food, or exercise too 
little," says the hygienist " It is because you 
wear corsets, long skirts, and chignons," says 
the dress reformer. " It is because you are a 
woman. Here is a mystery ! " says the dunce. 
" It is because you study too much," says Dr. 

Who of us has yet suggested and enforced the 
suggestion of another reason more simple and 
comprehensive than any of these, more prob- 
able, perhaps, than any which could be found 
outside of the effects of female dress ? 

Women sick because they study ? Does it 
not look a little more as if women were sick 
because they stopped studying ? 

Worn out by intellectual activity ? 

Let us suppose that they might be exhausted 
by the change from intellectual activity to in- 
tellectual inanition. Made invalids because they 
go to school from fourteen to eighteen ? Let us 
conceive that they might be made invalids be- 
cause they left school at eighteen ! Let us draw 
upon our imagination to the extent of inquiring 


whether the nineteenth-century girl intense, 
sensitive, and developing, like her age, nervously 
and fast might not be made an invalid by the 
plunge from the " healing influences " of system- 
atic brain exertion to the broken, jagged life 
which awaits a girl whose "education is com- 
pleted." Made an invalid by exchanging the 
wholesome pursuit of sufficient and worthy aims 
for the unrelieved routine of a dependent domes- 
tic life, from which all aim has departed, or for 

the whirl of false excitements and falser contents 
which she calls society. Made an invalid by the 
abrupt slide from " thinking," as poor Lamb had 
it, " that life was going to be something," to the 
discovery that it has " unaccountably fallen from 
her before its time." Made an invalid by the 
sad and subtle process by which a girl is first 
inspired to the ideal of a life in which her per- 
sonal culture has as honest and honorable a part 
of her regard as (and as a part of) her personal 
usefulness ; and then is left to find out that per- 
sonal culture substantially stopped for her when 
she tied the ribbon of her seminary diploma. 


Made an invalid by the prejudice that deprives 
her of the stimulus which every human being 
needs and finds in the pursuit of some one 
especial avocation, and confines that avocation 
for her to a marriage which she may never 
effect, and which may never help the matter if 
she does. Made an invalid by the change from 
doing something to doing nothing. Made an 
invalid by the difference between being happy 
and being miserable. Made an invalid, in short, 
for just the reasons (in whatever manner, the 
manner being a secondary point) why a man 
would be made an invalid if subjected to the 
woman's life when the woman's education is 
over. That wretched, mistaken life, that ner- 
vous, emotive, aimless, and exhausting life which 
women assume at the end of their school career 
would have killed Dr. Clarke, had it been his 
lot, quite too soon for his years and experience 
to have matured into the writing of " Sex in 

Girls know what I mean. Women who work 
for women have some chance to read the mind 


of women on such points. We could produce 
our own note-book over against the physician's, 
and the contents of it would be pitiful to see. 

The sense of perplexed disappointment, of 
baffled intelligence, of unoccupied powers, of 
blunted aspirations, which run through the con- 
fidences of girls "left school," is enough to 
create any illness which nervous wear and 
misery can create. And the physician should 
be the first man to recognize this fact, not the 
man to ignore or discredit it ; not the man to 
use his professional culture to the neglect of 
any obvious appeal to his professional candor ; 
not the man to veil within a few slippery flat- 
teries a wilful ignorance or an unmanly sneer. 

Admitting what must be in justice said of 
" Sex in Education," that its author's pro- 
fessional status demanded for his opinions, if 
expressed in the proper way and in the proper 
places, at least an intelligent hearing ; and 
that he has called attention to some evils in the 
training of very young girls which require, 
whether by his means or by some other, a 


remedy ; and that he has made a sincere en- 
deavor to point out these real and other imagi- 
nary evils in a manner good, at least in his own 
eyes, the sneer remains. 1 By it women will 
remember him when the work which he under- 
took to do shall be long forgotten. Through it 
the whole character of that work is vitiated and 
its influence marred. For it we may yet be 
grateful, after all. 

1 Any reader of the essay will recall its flings at women 
who, either from subjective preference or objective pressure, 
are debarred from marriage and maternity. These flings are 
too disagreeable for pleasant quotation. 



DR. CLARKE'S book on '* Sex in Education " 
should be read deliberately, thoughtfully, and in 
a spirit of fairness, which seeks only to know 
the real facts in the matter, and not to find 
arguments for or against any special theory, 
system, or hobby. Dr. Clarke is an eminent 
physician. All forms of disease are not only 
familiar to him, but are forced upon his atten- 
tion : of course he sees the dark side of life, 
and judges accordingly. His picture of the 
condition of women is a terrible one, calculated 
to excite deep anxiety in parents, and in young 
women themselves : he sees in the future, if the 
present system of education is continued, only 
increasing invalidism, partial development, de- 
formity, and the eventual failure of the Ameri- 
can race. This alarming condition of affairs he 


attributes to various causes ; and among the 
most powerful of these causes he reckons the 
common system of continuous education for girls. 
He calls it the boy's method, and means by it 
not any special curriculum of study, or any share 
in out-of-doors masculine plays or employments, 
but simply regular study for five or six days of 
every week. This, he thinks, is so grave an error, 
so absolutely criminal a course, that he has given 
to the world this book of warning, to stay, if he 
can, this evil ; to save, if he can, American girls, 
to enable them to become mothers ; for, he says, 
" if these causes of evil persistent education 
chief among them should continue for the 
next half century, and increase in the same ratio 
as they have for the last fifty years, it requires 
no prophet to foretell that the wives who are to 
be mothers in our republic must be drawn from 
transatlantic homes. The sons of the New 
World will have to react, on a magnificent 
scale, the old story of unwived Rome and the 

It is not education for women to which Dr. 


Clarke objects. He repeats emphatically that 
they have a right to the best education and the 
finest culture. He does not doubt their intellect- 
ual ability ; but the essential thing in a good 
education is complete development, so that 
" boys may become men, and girls women, and 
both have a fair chance to do and become their 
best." Dr. Clarke's point is that the sustained 
regularity of study which benefits a boy inevita- 
bly harms a girl, prevents her from doing or be- 
coming her best, and in a frightfully large pro- 
portion of cases actually ruins her health, and 
makes it impossible for her to nourish, and too 
often impossible for her to bear, children. This 
danger he discusses fully, and, as he says, with 
great plainness of speech, and without ambiguity 
of language or euphemism of expression. The 
peril seems to him imminent, and he cries aloud 
from his watch-tower of science and experience, 
and his cry will be heard and heeded by thou- 
sands. But there are other cries to be heard and 
heeded ; there are other watchmen who do not 
sleep at their posts, and who see brighter scenes 


and more hopeful signs, watchmen who do not 
disregard the enemy, but who see him and the 
causes of his strength from another point of 

The defects in the present system of education 
are so great that it is no wonder physicians can 
hardly find words strong enough for denuncia- 
tion of them, especially great in the education 
of girls. Children of both sexes have too many 
studies ; they are crowded and hurried ; they do 
very little really hard brain-work, but their brains 
are bewildered ; they have a sort of mental indi- 
gestion all the time ; and this kind of crowding 
and driving is exciting and exhausting to the 
nerves, and injurious to every portion of the 
organism. Boys have some offset to it: they 
have an easy dress, short hair, and can exercise 
freely out of schools ; but that even their train- 
ing is not the best is shown by the innumerable 
invalids, imbeciles, and insane among men. With 
girls, especially city girls, the matter is worse. 
They cannot race and play and frolic on the 
common or in the streets ; they wear tight boots, 


burdensome clothes, not tight but cumbersome 
masses of their own or false hair on the head, 
that should be cool and free ; they eat unwhole- 
some food ; dance at hot parties ; saunter along 
the pavements, with arms a la mode; go to danc- 
ing school and skating parties without the faint- 
est regard to physiology or to the plain rules of 
health ; have music lessons and masters ; and in 
too many cases lead a life of reckless waste that it 
makes a grown person breathless to think of. No 
wonder they break down, no wonder they have all 
those miserable polysyllabic diseases that decently 
trained women never heard of ; but we believe 
that the class who have these diseases because of 
" sustained regularity " in study is so small that 
it should hardly be reckoned in the account, but 
should be treated as exceptional, like the blind or 
the physically deformed. It is almost impossible 
for even a physician to discover in the case of 
young invalids how much really hard and inju- 
rious study has been done. The imprudences, 
wilful or ignorant, of girls, are innumerable, and 
only when driven to the last extreme will they 


confess them. If the evil resulting from bad 
diet, late and irregular hours, improper clothing, 
exposure to cold and dampness, hereditary weak- 
ness, and exciting reading, could be eliminated, 
we believe there would be no difficulty whatever 
in raising a generation of strong and noble girls 
under the system of " sustained regularity " of 

There is something to be said from the side of 
health. All women are not sick, and the ex- 
perience of health teaches that girls and boys 
should have a very large margin for repair of 
waste and for growth, girls, perhaps, a larger 
margin than boys, although we are by no means 
sure of that. Nature is a wise worker, and dis- 
tributes the repair and growth wherever it is 
needed, to the dual organism of the boy or to the 
tripartite one of the girl. With simple, healthful 
habits of life, with proper diet, abundant sleep, 
plenty of sunshine and play, and moderate, regu- 
lar study, in school or out, girls, unless they . 
inherited some disease, would stand a fair chance 
for health, strength, and development as women. 


Indeed, we believe the sustained regularity of 
moderate study to be better for the health of the 
average girl than any periodicity of study. Girls 
educated in this way, with wise regard to the 
general principles of health, are not likely to 
indulge in what Dr. Clarke calls cerebral pyro- 
technics at school examinations ; but they are 
likely to grow up intelligent women, with good 
common sense, who, if fate throws them into the 
whirl of city life, will set their faces against its 
overwhelming excitements, and seek peaceful 
hours at home as the weight and balance-wheel 
of life ; and, if they live in the country, make 
happy homes there. Many of them will be, as 
women so educated now are, mothers and grand- 
mothers ; some will probably be childless wives, 
and some will never marry, but none of them 
will ever deserve the bitter sneer with which Dr. 
Clarke speaks of torsos and of the " hermaphro- 
ditic condition that sometimes accompanies spin- 

If the ruinous work of women, their standing 
in shops and at desks, could be stopped ; if chil- 
7 J 


dren between ten and sixteen were not allowed 
to serve in shops ; if no woman under twenty 
were allowed to teach in a public school ; if girls 
were taught obedience and truth-telling, and if 
mothers were wisely anxious, that is Dr. Clarke's 
expression, and goes to the root of the matter, 
wisely anxious about their daughters, caring 
for their health more than for their appearance, 
for their permanent good more than their present 
indulgence, looking after their reading and their 
pleasures, guarding them from imprudence and 
making them take care of their own health, there 
would be no trouble about regular study. The 
same causes that dry up the youth and strength 
of young girls break down older ones, constant 
excitement and no real rest ; social excitement 
at parties ; passionate excitement at operas and 
theatres ; emotional excitement over highly 
wrought novels and philanthropic work ; one 
following close on the other, and all accompanied 
by bodily fatigue and endless hurry. It is a sad 
life to look at, in spite of the seeming beauty of 
the garments of art, culture, and charity which 


it wears. If Dr. Clarke's warning will waken 
people to their danger, and make them lead sim- 
pler and easier lives ; if he can make them fol- 
low the plainest rules of health ; if he can do 
any thing toward keeping girls girls, instead 
of having them forced, when they are hardly in 
their teens, into diminutive fashionable women, 
with a smattering of forty studies and a knowledge 
of none, he will be indeed a Good Physician, 
and his aim will be won without taking girls out 
of school or interfering with their regular work, 
without even discussing the question of co-edu- 
cation. . . . 

The accounts of the training of German girls 
given in the last chapter bear out these views. 
To be sure, most of the German girls leave 
school young, at about fifteen, and have lessons 
at home. We know nothing of the regularity, 
strictness, or requirements of these lessons or 
lectures ; but we do know the work is regular, 
and not periodical, for girls in average health, 
and the health is taken care of. There is an 
established kind of tradition, as there is in many 


families in this country, in regard to the regimen 
for girls. Cold and exposure are avoided ; school- 
girls never ride and never go to parties ; and, even 
when school-days are over, girls do not go to 
parties during the time when Dr. Clarke thinks 
they ought not to go to school. Dr. Hagen 
writes : " The health of the German girls is com- 
monly good, except in the higher classes in the 
great capitals, where the same obnoxious agencies 
are to be found in Germany as in the whole world. 
But here also there is a very strong exception, or, 
better, a difference between America and Ger- 
many, as German girls are never accustomed to 
the free manners and modes of life of American 
girls. As a rule, in Germany the " mother directs 
the manner of living of the daughter entirely T 
The italics are ours. Dr. Clarke adds to this 
that "pleasant recreation for children of both 
sexes, and abundance of it, is provided for them 
all over Germany, is regarded as necessity for 
them, is made a part of their daily life ; but 
then it is open air, oxygen-surrounding, blood- 
making, health-giving, innocent recreation, not 


gas, furnaces, low necks, spinal trails, the civil- 
ized representatives of caudal appendages, and 
late hours." 

We repeat that Dr. Clarke does not oppose 
the education of women : he only opposes the 
present method of education. He says distinctly : 
Let us remember that physiology confirms the 
hope of the race by asserting that the loftiest 
heights of intellectual and spiritual vision and 
force are free to each sex, and accessible by each ; 
but adds that each must climb in its own way, 
and accept its own limitations, and, when this is 
done, promises that each will find the doing of 
it not to weaken or diminish, but to develop 
power. His book is written with force and 
with genuine earnestness and feeling, is full of 
valuable instruction, and is both useful and sug- 
gestive to those who will agree with the author, 
to those who oppose him, and to those like 
ourselves who sympathize fully with his aim, but 
who think that he has laid the emphasis of blame 
wrongly. Boston Daily Advertiser. 




IN this little book, which has attracted much 
attention, there are many excellent things ; and 
we thank Dr. Clarke for having written it, not so 
much for what it contains as for the attention it 
has drawn to the subject of which it treats. 
Coming as it does from a physician, who stands 
so high in the profession, and who is so much 
esteemed in social life, it naturally attracts the 
attention of many who are thinking upon the 
subject of co-education. But we regret to find 
that one who should be informed of the views of 
the prominent advocates of co-education should 
permit himself to talk of their wishing to make 
women as nearly as possible like men, and of 
women as wishing to become like men, and de- 
spising those differences in themselves which dis- 
tinguish the sexes, when in fact these are the 


opprobriums of their opponents instead of argu- 
ments to defeat the cause. On page 18 he says : 

"It is said that Elina Carnaro, the accom- 
plished professor of six languages, whose statue 
adorns and honors Padua, was educated like a 
boy. This means that she was initiated into and 
mastered the studies that were considered to be 
the peculiar dower of men. It does not mean 
that her life was a man's life, her way of study a 
man's way of study, or that in acquiring six 
languages she ignored her own organization." 

How the Doctor got this interpretation of 
what is meant by Elina Carnaro's being edu- 
cated like a boy he does not inform us, but no 
woman would have thought that her life was 
a man's life, her way of study a man's way of 
study, or that in acquiring six languages she 
would ignore her own organization. What wo- 
men are now struggling for is not to be like 
men, not to get their education by the same 
mental processes as men, but to have the same 
opportunities to use in a woman's way, and to 
make the most of them in the methods their 


own intellect dictates ; not to have men lay out 
the course of study for them, and oblige them to 
follow their direction, instead of their own nat- 
ural methods. They desire to be allowed to 
choose the college or university that suits their 
! wishes, and to enter any educational institution 
as freely as men choose and enter theirs. Dr. 
Clarke takes it for granted that, if boys and girls 
are educated together, the girls must follow the 
boys' method of getting their lessons, must 
study as many hours as the boys, but must have 
none of the physical exercises and plays that boys 
have to strengthen their muscles, and, by draw- 
ing off the nerve force from the brain, let it rest 
and be refreshed in the same degree that the 
boys' brains are. He ignores the fact that boys, 
too, have a period of development, and often 
require tender care during that period, as well as 
girls. While boys are encouraged to be out of 
doors, and to engage in active sports, without 
the slightest intimation that there is any impro- 
priety in it, girls are constantly checked if their 
inclination leads them to desire active out-of- 


door sports. They are told that they are hoy- 
dens, that it is not proper for girls to play tag, 
or coast, or run races, or to engage in any of the 
activities that would render them physically 
strong ; and so they, having much more sensi- 
bility and more love of admiration than boys, 
give up all amusements that are denounced as 
unladylike, and take to crocheting or fancy 
needlework, which in itself is sufficient to de- 
bilitate them, and take the color from their 
cheeks, without the strain of study imposed 
upon them in the schools. 

The Doctor takes for granted that women can- 
not go through a college course with men with- 
out overtaxing their brains, and then goes on to 
show what a train of evils follows overtaxing the 
brain. This is an easy way to manage the case, 
and saves the trouble of proving that women 
would be injured, and their nervous systems 
broken down, by allowing them freedom to pur- 
sue such a course of study as they might feel 
able to master. It is really surprising to see 
with what complacency the Doctor maps out a 


course for women, assuming that he is a better 
judge of what they can bear than they are them- 
selves, and assuming that if allowed to decide 
for themselves what they could bear they would 
destroy themselves by excessive study ! This is 
not exactly consistent with his admission of their 
intellectual equality with men ; but women have 
been long accustomed to being told that they 
are the intellectual peers of men, and, in the 
next breath, that they do not know what is best 
for them, and that men are their natural protec- 
tors and supporters, and that they should defer 
all matters relating to their welfare to the better 
judgment of men, who will take all the trouble 
of such decisions from them and settle such ques- 
tions in the way that will promote their great- 
est happiness ! When the time comes that men 
have so far mastered the plan of the universe as 
to perceive that the Creator has endowed each 
class of animals with its own peculiar method of 
defence, and capable of choosing the way of life 
most in harmony with its nature, and that man, 
the highest in the grade of created beings, is also 


endowed with the power of seeing what will best 
conserve his interest, and that he has not made 
one-half of the race incapable of choosing wisely, 
and therefore dependent upon the other half for 
this information a great step will be taken in the 
right direction, and equal freedom of action being 
secured by the removal of all laws and customs 
that limit women to narrower bounds than men 
will give an opportunity to decide the question of 
what women can do and will do, when allowed 
free scope for all their powers. 

The Doctor talks as if the Creator had made 
man so perfectly that, without any special care 
on his part, his whole nature would naturally 
develop into a perfect and healthy human being, 
prepared to fulfil all objects of his creation ; but 
that He made woman so imperfectly that her 
organism would not naturally develop into a per- 
fectly healthy woman, fitted to fulfil the high 
objects of her creation, unless men took charge 
of her and directed what she must do and how 
she must live. 

Is not this impugning the wisdom of the Crea- 


tor in assuming that He left a being on whom 
the welfare of the race greatly depends to the 
poor care of erring mortals, instead of creating 
her as He has man, so that she would naturally 
grow into a perfect woman from the very nature 
of her constitution ? We take no issue with the 
Doctor in regard to the host of ills that women 
are suffering from at this time in America ; but 
they are certainly not to be charged to co-educa- 
tion, for that has been so little tried that no con- 
clusions can as yet be drawn from it. 

So far as our observation goes, the number of 
invalid women is greater in the class of fashion- 
able women than in any other ; and they surely 
do not overtax their brains in studies that com- 
pose the college curriculum. The want of some 
noble and engrossing subject of thought and 
action is, in our opinion, a much more frequent 
cause of ill-health than over-study, and next to 
that, if not taking precedence of it, is the man- 
ner in which women are clothed. The corsets 
that confine the waists and abdomen as if in a 
vice, preventing the action of the muscles and 


pressing down the contents of the abdomen, so 
as to displace important organs ; the great weight 
of skirts hanging on the abdominal muscles ; the 
long skirts that fetter the limbs and prevent a 
natural movement of them ; the thin boots that 
expose the feet to cold and damp ; the high heels 
that throw the body out of the perpendicular 
line, so that a constant strain is imposed on the 
muscles to keep the balance, these are prolific 
causes of invalidism. The late hours and con- 
tinued excitements of parties and balls, the great 
exposure to cold from changing the warm dresses 
^ worn in winter for the thin party dresses for 
evening, combined with the unwholesome diet 
on such occasions, complete the destruction of 
health, never robust on account of the failure to 
give girls the out-of-door active exercises which 
boys enjoy, while as yet there is no physiological 
reason for their being shut up in the house, or 
only taken out to walk dressed so finely that play 
and exercise are out of the question. 

There is still another case, which to my mind 
is as clear as the overtaxing of brains is to Dr. 


Clarke's ; and that is the necessity for women to 
go to physicians of the male sex when they need 
advice for their peculiar diseases. The medical 
colleges, refusing admission to women, kept them 
out of the regular avenues for acquiring a medi- 
cal education, and consequently the number of 
educated women physicians was so small that 
they could scarcely be mentioned as treating the 
diseases of women ; and the result has been that 
for a long period women have been treated by men 
who, having no corresponding organs, could not 
possibly understand their diseases, and they have 
been left uncured, only palliated, and often made 
worse by this great error. When women are 
permitted to add the light of science and art to 
their personal experiences and similar organiza- 
tions, we may look for a healthier race of 

On page 54 he says : 

" This growing period or formative epoch ex- 
tends from birth to the age of twenty or twenty- 
five years. Its duration is shorter for a girl than 
for a boy. She ripens quicker than he. In the 


four years from fourteen to eighteen, she accom- 
plishes an amount of cell change and growth 
which Nature does not require of a boy in less 
than twice that number of years. It is obvious 
that, to secure the best kind of growth during 
this period and the best development at the end 
of it, the waste of tissue produced by study, 
work, and fashion must not be so great that 
repair will only equal it. It is equally obvious 
that a girl, upon whom Nature for a limited period 
and for a definite purpose imposes so great a 
physiological task, will not have as much power 
left for the tasks of the school as the boy, of 
whom Nature requires less at the correspond- 
ing epoch. A margin must be left for growth. 
The repair must be greater and better than the 

Did it not occur to the Doctor's mind that 
" Nature," or the Creator, in making woman, 
took this state of things into account, and pro- 
vided for it, by supplying the female organism 
at this period with a power of more rapid cell 
growth to meet this want, and that this same 


power would be needed by the woman when 
the great drain of reproducing the race was 
made upon her system ? If such had not been 
the case, women would succumb at once to the 
great waste necessitated by child-bearing, and no 
mother would live to have a second child. But 
the Infinite Father knew how to make woman, 
so that under ordinary circumstances she could 
go on with her usual activities, and bear children 
without injury to her health, and often with an 
improvement of it. For, of our healthy women 
at sixty or seventy years of age, nearly all have 
been mothers, and most of them have had large 

When the Doctor says, "Two considerations 
deserve to be mentioned in this connection : one 
is, that no organ or function in plant, animal, or 
human kind, can be properly regarded as a dis- 
ability or source of weakness," he states a 
well-known fact ; but when he attempts to show 
that one of the functions of woman is a great 
disability, and necessarily incapacitates her from 
the performance of usual duties two or three 


days out of every thirty, he directly contradicts 
his first statement. Healthy women are able to 
go on with their usual avocations at these times, 
and only feeble or sickly ones require the rest 
he speaks of. Those girls whose physical train- 
ing has been such as to give them strong bodies 
develop naturally and without suffering, just as 
boys do, and find no necessity for dropping all 
mental and physical labor two days in every 
month. Neither men nor women can overtax 
for a long time their mental or physical natures, 
and remain well. There is one law for both, and 
it is inflexible ; but is it necessary for man to ask 
woman, or woman man, what either can bear 
without injury ? Must not each be a law unto 
himself ? Let women study physiology and 
thoroughly understand their own bodies, and 
they can be trusted to take care of them. Why 
the Doctor supposes it necessary to co-education 
that women should study like men, or should be 
obliged to stand for recitations, I cannot imagine. 
Are the rules of college inflexible, like the laws 
of the Medes and Persians ? or are they made for 


the best good of the students ? If a class sits 
during recitations, does it follow that their les- 
sons will be less well learned ? If a girl can get 
a lesson in an hour that requires a boy an hour 
and a half to learn, will it be necessary for her 
to study as many hours as the boy, to keep up 
with him ? And does not every teacher of boys 
and girls know that girls, as a rule, take less time 
to commit their tasks than boys ? By the Doc- 
tor's own showing, this is in analogy with the 
processes in their physical frames ; for he says, 
" In the four years, from fourteen to eighteen, 
she accomplishes an amount of physiological cell 
change and growth which Nature does not re- 
quire of a boy in less than twice that number of 
years." The trouble with the Doctor is, that he 
has a pet theory that women must not do mental 
or physical work during certain periods ; and so 
he attributes all disease in women to failure in 
securing this rest, whether it be want of devel- 
opment of the ovaries, hemorrhages, or disease 
of the brain ! 

But we would again thank him for his book, 


which is so suggestive that thinking women 
cannot read it without seeing the necessity, for 
reformation in many ways of the false ideas and 
customs regarding woman's training, dressing, 
and living ; and, having their attention called to 
them, it is to be hoped they will make an earnest 
effort to improve upon them. 




THE following is an extract from a paper read 
at the recent Massachusetts Teachers' Conven- 
tion in Worcester : 

To the present point of composition in this 
paper, I had not had the opportunity of a full 
perusal of Dr. Clarke's work, entitled " Sex in 
Education." I wish, therefore, to add a few 
things directly bearing on it. The considera- 
tion chiefly dwelt on by Dr. Clarke, that of 
periodicity and continuity, respectively, in sex- 
ual development, is one of great importance, 
demanding earnest and thorough attention. His 
work is able, candid, and fair. It is not, how- 
ever, fair in its actual practical bearing on co- 
education. The impression is made by it that 
it presses peculiarly upon this point, and that 
its general conclusions, if admitted, are well-nigh 


fatal to it. This is not true, and is hardly the 
author's meaning. 

In the first place, the general debility of 
women, be it greater or less, is not due to co- 
education in higher knowledge ; for such an 
education has not existed among us to a de- 
gree sufficient perceptibly to affect the general 
constitution. It is due to an ignorance and 
inattention to physiological law that have charac- 
terized all our action in business, social, and 
educational relations, in the former even more 
than in the latter. Separate training, as that at 
Mt. Holyoke, has been as deeply affected by it 
as joint education, like that at Oberlin. The 
point raised by Dr. Clarke bears on all our 
action, not pre-eminently on one part of it, and 
that hitherto a most insignificant part, the por- 
tion expressed in conjoint higher education. To 
give the hygienic considerations involved this 
peculiar and limited application is illogical and 
unfair. The reform called for will effect this 
method in common with a hundred other things. 
If the conclusions already reached by us in this 


paper are to be altered by the considerations 
presented by Dr. Clarke, it must be by showing 
that co-education is inconsistent with a proper 
regard of the hygienic rules involved in sexual 
development. The present debility of women 
goes for nothing in the argument. This debility, 
as due in given cases to a false training, goes 
for nothing, since our inattention has been 
general, and covers this field with many another. 
We might as well argue against social inter- 
course, since this, even oftener than lessons, 
has been the provocation to excess. The only 
real question, then, between Dr. Clarke and 
co-education is this : Can co-education be so 
altered as to respect, in both sexes, the laws 
of development ? He himself practically con- 
cedes that it can be. He only objects finally 
and peremptorily to identical co-education ; 
that is, to precisely the same tasks, at all times, 
for all parties. To this we also object, as 
unfitted for the best development of boys and 
girls alike. The active and the inert, the bright 
and the dull, cannot be harnessed together with- 


out loss on one side or the other. Our educa- 
tion, in the interest of boys as well as of girls, 
calls for more elasticity, less pressure, more 
variable and proportionate stimulus. Construct 
a method good for boys of all kinds, pliant to 
their wants, keeping up with the best, and fall- 
ing back to the poorest, and we shall have a 
system sufficiently flexible to include girls, under 
their own law of development. 

Indeed, the rigidity of college courses is pre- 
cisely that which needs modification ; and, if this 
is to come with co-education, so much the better 
for the joint discipline. The average girl, carry- 
ing weight as she does in the laws of her con- 
stitution, is not as far off from the average boy 
as the stupid boy from the quick-witted one. 
Unite these two well in one system, and that 
system will have play enough to embrace girls 
also advantageously. Our present difficulties 
are due to bad education, not to co-education ; 
to an ignorance of the laws of hygiene, not to 
a knowledge of these and their witting violation. 
Educate women more thoroughly, and they will 


be more cognizant and observant of these con- 
ditions of success. As things now are, they 
owe their disease to their ignorance : they are 
not weak because they are wise, but weak be- 
cause they are not wise. 

The critical period, according to Dr. Clarke, 
is found between the ages of fourteen and 
eighteen. This is a period for the most part 
prior, and may to advantage be always prior, 
to that given to higher education, and one cov- 
ered by the kind and accommodating provisions 
of home. I have not the slightest doubt that, 
if the general temper that is encouraged by Dr. 
Clarke's essay, were left to shape a sexual cur- 
riculum for women, it would issue in a feeble 
intellectual mood, a proportionate diversion of 
time, strength, and interest to society, sure 
to absorb unoccupied powers, heedless and 
headstrong in its use of . them, and thus ulti- 
mately in strengthening the very evil warred 
with. Society is more to be dreaded than edu- 
cation. On the other hand, devote attention to 
a complete elastic common curriculum, and the 


tastes will be elevated, the judgment sobered, 
the conditions of success made more apparent, 
and ultimately that breadth and strength of 
character reached which are sure to express 
themselves in a wise mastery of natural law. 
If we are bound to have a thoroughly flexible 
and fit discipline for boys, in reaching it we 
shall also furnish appropriate conditions for 
girls, and all the reasons for co-education urged 
by us will apply in full force. The transition 
from a rigid to a pliant method will necessarily 
take place slowly ; but we do well to remember 
that the cast-iron mode is as firmly wrought into 
separate as into conjoint education, and consti- 
tutes no ground of choice between them. Both 
are to be reformed, both are capable of reform, 
and in the interests of all parties. Dr. Clarke's 
criticism is destructive, not constructive. Let 
him undertake to build up a curriculum, and 
the advantage will at once pass to his oppo- 




\_Extract from Annual Report of Committee on Work 
of the New England IV omen 1 s Club, read May 31, 

OUR programme for the year just closed occu- 
pied itself with the question of women's fitness 
for entering practical life, presented from several 
points of view. At our first meeting, Miss Kel- 
logg, in an able manner, set before us the views 
of several of the most eminent scientific men on 
the question of the relative capacity of women 
for the highest education. The extracts Miss 
Kellogg gave proved that there is a good deal 
of difference of opinion among authorities ; but, 
whatever may be the conclusion to-day of one 
or another man, the great desideratum is that 
the matter should be frankly discussed. Truth 
will inevitably result sooner or later; and that 
is what we chiefly desire, even when the lesson 


of patience is bitterly hard. This valuable rt- 
snm6 of the opinions of others was followed by 
a highly interesting paper from Dr. Edward 
H. Clarke, upon the health of women, as af- 
fecting steady, persistent mental application. 
Dr. Clarke the skilful physician, the jealous 
guardian of health, to whose notice comes daily 
most distressing knowledge of the suffering 
caused by a lack of it, especially among New 
England women made a strong plea for sav- 
ing women from the over-pressure and false 
methods of living, under which so many men, 
as well as women, break down. The sad fact 
of great physical weakness among our women is 
beyond dispute. In that respect, there is no 
room for difference of opinion; though we 
thought Dr. Clarke did not sufficiently recognize 
the gain which has been made in some respects 
within the last few years. But the discussion 
which followed the paper showed that the ma- 
jority could not agree with Dr. Clarke, in charg- 
ing much of the misery upon high education or 
the co-education of the sexes. There are many 


other deep and clear causes for it ; and too little 
education, as carried up to any high plane, has 
there been to charge it with so wide-spread an 
evil. And, again, the statistics which have come 
to notice are at least doubtful proofs of such 
statements. On the contrary, they seem to 
prove that mental training is not only good, but 
requisite for physical health ; and why should it 
not be so ? God has made women, as men, com- 
pound creatures, with a fivefold nature; and it 
cannot be that either side, physical, mental, moral, 
affectional, or spiritual, can suffer loss without 
injury to the whole. It is only in the harmoni- 
ous development of all that each finds its own 
perfection. The perfect woman must have a 
sound body, a vigorous mind, a conscience quick, 
and a heart large enough and true enough to 
warm and sweeten the whole. Give her the 
thorough training of all these, and crown her 
with a spirit seeking the highest, and you have 
a woman such as we conceive God meant her 
to be. Who shall dare to say that mental cul- 
ture must be kept on a poorer plane than the 


very best there is, because of danger to a woman's 
body, a danger different in its nature from that 
which men so often find in unwise mental effort ? 
No one would plead for folly, as applied to the 
training of either sex ; but that many women arc 
feeble seems a poor reason for depriving those 
who are strong of any advantage that the world 
can afford them. Does he want it ? is the ques- 
tion we ask in relation to men. Does she want 
it ? would seem to be the only fair one to ask of 
the other sex. For both sexes, lack of health 
must often be practically an insurmountable bar- 
rier. Why cannot all interested in this question 
unite in holding up a high standard of health, in 
themselves and for others, since no other obstacle 
can long prevent women from having all the edu- 
cational advantages they can use. 




DR. CLARKE talks as though women in every 
thing but college life had perfect liberty to 
change at will their position from the erect to 
the reclining; as though nothing else required 
four weeks* labor in a month ; as though a regu- 
lar, sustained, and uninterrupted course of work 
was something of which they have never had any 
experience ; and as though identical education of 
the sexes was the only regimen that ignored the 
periodic tides and reproductive apparatus of their 

We would like to have Dr. Clarke inform us 
what regimen there is that does not ignore 
them ? 

While but very few women are called by a 
chapel-bell to a standing prayer, thousands and 
tens of thousands in America are called by the 


bell of " that university, which has a water-wheel 
at the bottom," to all-day standing tasks at the 
noisy loom, and this followed from half-past six 
in the morning till half-past six at night, with the 
intermission only of half, three-quarters, or the 
whole of an hour at noon, throughout every 
working-day in the year. 

Has Dr. Clarke written a book on " Sex in 
Manufacturing Establishments " ? If he hasn't, 
he ought to. 

Women stand behind the counter, obliged to 
be at their post just such a time every morning, 
and to wait on customers, if need be, the livelong 
day. Are they excused from work every fourth 
week ? Can they sit, stand, or recline at their 
pleasure ? Are they exempted from tending to 
the wants of their employers' patrons because 
they feel indisposed ? Nay, in many instances 
are they not required to be on their feet all the 
time, even when there are no customers ? 

Has Dr. Clarke written a book on " Sex in 

Women have, year out and year in, busily plied 


the needle in tailors' and dressmakers' shops, hav- 
ing no opportunity to change at will their position 
from the sitting to the standing, walking, or re- 

Has Dr. Clarke written a book on " Sex in 
Workshops," or " Sex in Sewing " ? 

School-teachers are expected to be in their 
school-rooms promptly on the hour every school- 
day in the year, ready to discharge their duties to 
their pupils. Where is the school-board that ever 
allowed its female teachers to take a week's vaca- 
tion every month ? Where is that man who would 
have a young woman teach in his ward or neigh- 
borhood who should make application to him in 
this wise : " Sir, I am very desirous of becoming 
a teacher. I want a school, and will do all in my 
power to bring it to a standard of high moral ex- 
cellence and worth. But I must tell you that I 
cannot teach for four consecutive weeks. I can 
teach only three weeks at a time : the fourth I 
must have to myself. Mighty and powerful de- 
mands are then made upon my constitution, and 
it requires all the strength and energy I can com- 


mand to meet them. To attempt at such times 
to manage and instruct an unruly and rollicking 
set of young urchins would derange the tides of 
my organization, divert blood from the reproduc- 
tive apparatus to my head, and consequently add 
to my piety at the expense of my blood." 

Women teach school under a regimen that 
pays no more regard to their bodily organism 
than to that of men. Yet in the face of this fact 
Dr. Clarke tells us it is a sin under such a regi- 
men to attend school as a pupil ! Are the duties 
and responsibilities of a pupil so much more 
arduous and exacting than those of a teacher 
that a much more favorable regimen must be 
prescribed for the former than for the latter ? 

Imagine Miss Applicant, in quest of a situa- 
tion to do housework, addressing mistress of the 
house as follows : " You know, my dear woman, 
that public opinion and sentiment have imposed 
upon girls a boy's regimen ; that is, that girls 
who go out to work are expected to work every 
day of the month, just as boys do. Now this is 
altogether wrong and contrary to the laws of 
8 L 


nature. It is grounded on the supposition that 
sustained regularity of action may be as safely 
required of a girl as a boy ; that there is no 
physical necessity for periodically relieving her 
from standing, walking, cooking, or baking ; that 
the striking of the clock may call her as well as 
him to a daily morning walk with the baby, with 
standing work at the end of it, regardless of the 
danger that such exercise, by deranging the tide 
of her organization, may add to her piety at the 
expense of her blood ; that she may bother her 
brain over bread, pies, cake, preserves, condi- 
ments, and the like, with equal and sustained 
force on every day of the month, thus diverting 
blood from the reproductive apparatus to the 
head ; in short, that she, like her brother, de- 
velops health, strength, blood, and nerve by a 
regular, uninterrupted, and sustained course of 
work. All this is not justified either by expe- 
rience or physiology. Girls lose all these by 
doing housework all the time. By requiring a 
girl to perform the same round of duties every 
day of the month, you impose upon her a regi- 


men which ignores the periodical tides and repro- 
ductive apparatus of her organization. Allow me 
to tell you, dear madame, that work every fourth 
week the same as the other three, lack of privi- 
lege to change her position when she needs 
change, persistent exercise and constant labor, 
which you say any girl who works in your house- 
hold will be subjected to, are wicked. It will do 
very well for a boy ; it will toughen and make a 
man of him ; but it can be only prejudicial to a 
girl. Surely, ma'am, you can't expect girls to 
work every week : they would become agenes 
under such a regimen as that." 

Would she be likely 'to secure the situation? 
Is it the prerogative of those who go out to 
housework, or who perform any kind of service 
or labor, to suspend work every fourth week ? 
Are not all women expected to do the bidding of 
their employers, the same as men, however great 
their disinclination ? 

Does that regimen which men are ever pre- 
scribing for woman, namely, marriage, grant her 
one week's cessation from labor out of every 


four? Can a mother, when weary and over- 
tasked, relinquish the work and care of her 
family, and engage her thoughts upon nothing 
save that of her own physical weaknesses, and 
how to relieve them ? 

No, women may work in the factory, in the 
store, in the workshop, in the field, in the dining- 
saloon, at the wash-tub, at the ironing-table, at 
the sewing-machine, do all these things, and 
many more equally hard, from Monday morning 
till Saturday night every week in the year ; may 
wear their lives out toilTng for their children, 
and doing the work for their families that their 
husbands ought to do, ami nobody raises the arm 
of opposition ; but just now, because there is a 
possibility and even probability that in matters 
of education women will be as honorably treated 
as men, lo ! Dr. Clarke comes forth and tells us 
it ought not to be so, because, forsooth, the peri- 
odical tides and reproductive apparatus of her 
organization will be ignored ! 

If there are any spheres of labor or of action 
that have with earnest solicitude more carefully 


and faithfully looked after the health of the girls 
and women who every day repair within their 
walls than have many of our seminaries of learn- 
ing, we have yet to learn the fact. 

So long as men are willing that women should 
do all or any of the things herein specified, beside 
the thousand and one things to which we have 
no space to allude ; so long as men are filling 
she should enter marriage, a regimen which im- 
poses more duties, responsibilities, trials, bur j 
dens, cares, and sorrows than any other can, 
which taxes health, strength, blood, and nerve 
infinitely more than any thing else she can ever 
do ; so long as they are willing that she should 
endure the wear and tear of wifehood and mother- 
hood, the severest and most trying ordeals through 
which human beings are ever called to pass, and, 
in comparison to the burdens which it inflicts 
upon her physical organization, all others are of 
a straw's weight ; so long as men are willing that 
woman should act, work, labor, earn her living in 
these various capacities, not one of which gives 
her more opportunity to favor herself than it 


gives man, is it not insulting for a physician to 
single out one individual phase of action, and 
declare that it is a sin for woman to share equally 
with man in the advantages it affords, because it 
don't pay so much attention to the subject of 
catamenia as he thinks it ought ? 

Will Dr. Clarke please tell us why colleges, or 
places of learning of any kind, should be denied 
to woman on the ground that an insufficient 
amount of deference is given to her physiologi- 
cal nature, any more than other institutions 
which overlook it entirely ? 



A VERY flattering notice of the volume bearing 
the title " Sex in Education " having appeared in 
the "Journal," one "ambitious woman," who is 
not "fretting under the restraints which nature 
imposes," but those arbitrary and unjust social 
laws which have grown out of a false, partial, 
and superficial view of nature's laws, and who is 
not "meditating the dangerous experiment of 
making herself a man," but has long claimed for 
herself and other women the right of deciding 
what constitutes womanhood, feels moved to 

Not having read the book in question, we shall 
simply attack the position of its admirer. We 
find, first, a complaint that the "subject" of 
woman's co-education with man "has been 
treated as a matter purely of moral claim, not 


of natural capacity," by many. Those who have 
claimed equal educational advantages for women 
as a right have in nearly if not all cases done so 
because of the following unanswerable reasons : 
'While women are taxed for the support of higher 
schools of instruction, they have a moral claim 
on such institutions for the equal education of 
both sexes. The statement of any author, that 
" experience and careful observation have proved 
that the higher education of women has been 
detrimental to their health, is simply an assump- 
tion of his own, which can be met by as deter- 
mined and well-proven statements on the other 
side. The fact is, that we cannot absolutely set- 
tle the limits of woman's strength and endurance 
by any experiments made and recorded so imper- 
fectly as they must be at a time like the present, 
when the majority of women who are educating 
themselves thoroughly in public colleges are do- 
ing so at the cost of home comforts, and under 
a severe pressure resulting from poverty. There 
was a time in the history of New England when 
the great majority of young men who were study- 


ing for the Christian ministry were in such poor 
health that sanctity and an earnest purpose 
came to be associated in almost every person's 
mind with a body just ready to fall a victim to 
any disease, a cadaverous or " spiritual " face, and 
a thin and wasted hand. Why was this ? Not 
because the simple preparation of study injured 
them, but because they could not afford the gen- 
erous living and comfortable homes which the 
body requires for its development, and their 
necessities compelled them to work outside their 
studies, while their student enthusiasm led them 
to disregard many laws of health. For these 
same reasons many a woman to-day fails in her 
course, when so near the end that a few more 
years would land her in competence and congenial 
employment. The health of the young ladies 
in Vassar College where the curriculum is 
quite as exhaustive and exhausting as the vari- 
ous special courses at Harvard, to say the least 
is excellent, as statistics, not theories, show. In 
the early history of Oberlin, the pioneer in higher 
education of the sexes, we read the names of 


many women who, so far from being " wrecks," 
physically at least, have lived to bear healthy 
children, have borne their full share of woman's 
special duties, and, in addition, have made them- 
selves famous in various departments of literary 
and reformatory labor. 

The recent census reports show that of all 
classes of women most subject to insanity and 
other diseases, the "farmers' wives" are most 
afflicted. Does higher education do this work ? 
Our observation, neither " professional " nor very 
" extensive," but careful and fair, has shown more 
healthful and strong women among the better 
educated, even the intellectual, than in those 
whose lives have been devoted exclusively to 
the duties which their sex imposes on them. It 
seems reasonable that the profession which calls 
for most varied talent, demands most strength of 
brain and body, is the most potent power for 
good or evil which the world knows, that of 
motherhood, should be freely accorded every ad- 
vantage of physical, intellectual, and moral train- 
ing which the State has it in its power to bestow. 


But we insist upon it that no person who 
cusses the educational problem of the 
day, with an argument " based on the postulate 
that woman finds her normal development in ful- 
filling the functions of wife and mother, and that 
any education which tends to unfit her for these 
highest offices is not a boon, but a curse," is 
worthy to be followed by just men or women. 
Men and women are " normally developed " when, 
and when only, they are rounded and broadened 
by culture of body, mind, and heart, into a sym- 
metrical character. We have no more right to 
say that women shall be educated to be wives 
and mothers than that men shall be educated to 
be husbands and fathers ; and no more right to 
say that a woman is not fulfilling her " highest " 
office; who is laboring for the world in some 
other sphere than that of wifehood or mother- 
hood, than we have to declare a man abnormally 
or imperfectly " developed " who has deemed it 
best to live his life unmarried. Until men are 
willing to discuss woman's education in the same 
way they do that of their own sex, on the broad 


basis of individual need, individual taste and tal- 
ent, arid the necessity of thorough mental train- 
ing of all, in order to attain the highest results 
to the country and the world ; until men are con- 
vinced that the human being and its needs is 
paramount in importance, and that sex, with all 
its relations, is a secondary question, which must 
settle itself and needs no legislation ; until, in 
short, men comprehend that they are not the 
guardians of woman, and have no right to force 
her to education, or restrain her from the same 
through any prudential considerations not ap- 
plied equally to themselves, every woman con- 
scious of the facts that her soul is worth more 
than her body, and her eternal relations are of 
more importance than the temporal, will "per- 
sistently " and reasonably demand that the final 
decision in regard to her ability to endure mental 
or physical strain, her power for study, and her 
need for the same, shall rest with herself. In 
spite of the author of " Sex in Education," we 
have yet to see convincing proofs, based on facts 
extensively gathered and compiled, of the un- 


healthfulness of student life for men or women, 
boys or girls, when the laws of health, namely, 
simple living, good food, abundant sleep, health- 
ful clothing, and sufficient exercise in the open 
air, are known and observed. We will only add 
our wish that men would be as careful for the 
health of women in other respects as they claim 
to be in the matter of education ; and sum up all 
we would like to say on this vexed question in 
one sentence : That man or woman is best fitted 
for his or her special relations who is most 
thoroughly and harmoniously developed as an 



DEAR SIR, Having held the office of Resi- 
dent Physician in Vassar College since the school 
opened, September, 1 865, it seems to me that 
I have the right to make respectful but earnest 
protest against the implied strictures upon the 
hygienic teaching and practice of the institution, 
which I find in the history of " Miss D.," page 
79 of " Sex in Education." 

I take it that the aim of your book is to show 
parents and teachers the wrong they do women, 
and so the race, by their systematic overtaxing 
of the mental forces during the critical years of 
girlhood, when the reproductive function is as- 
serting itself, and when every thing that would 
hinder its proper establishment should be care- 
fully avoided. In that aim I bid you God-speed ; 


and it is because I feel so strongly on that point, 
and have labored so zealously to make practical 
application of this physiological principle, that 
I regret that you should have taken as your most 
elaborately discussed and aggravated case one 
which so misrepresents the college that any 
person who is at all acquainted with its rules 
and management can hardly help having his 
confidence in the book shaken. He would nat- 
urally say, "This being so largely false, where 
can I be sure of finding the truth?" 

Vassar College does not receive students under 
fifteen years of age, even for the first preparatory 
class (there is a two years' preparatory course). 
No student ever entered the freshman class 
at fourteen. 

At the beginning of every collegiate year the 
students are carefully instructed regarding the 
precautions which are periodically necessary for 
them. They are positively forbidden to take 
gymnastics at all during the first two days of 
their period ; and, if there is the least tendency 
toward menorrhagia, dysmenorrhoea, or other 


like irregularity, to forego those exercises en- 
tirely. They are also forbidden to ride on horse- 
back then ; and, moreover, are strongly advised 
not to dance, nor run up and down stairs, nor do 
any thing else that gives sudden and successive 
(even though not violent) shocks to the trunk. 
They are encouraged to go out of doors for quiet 
walks, or drives, or boating, and to do whatever 
they can to steady the nervous irritation, and to 
help them to be patient with themselves through 
the almost inevitable excitement or depression 
that then supervenes. 

That a student should faint again and again 
in the gymnasium, and still be pushed to con- 
tinue her exercises there, is a statement that 
would not be made by any one who knows the 
personal physical care that is had here, not only 
by the Resident Physician, but by all the teach- 
ers. It is a statement that will be believed by 
none who has taken any pains to inform himself 
of the methods of training adopted by Vassar 

It is possible that a student began here to 
9 M 


menstruate healthily, and ended her course a 
victim of dysmenorrhcea ; but does it give " a fair 
chance for the girls " to argue therefrom that the 
functional disturbance was the result of too severe 
or continued study ? Do you know that she pur- 
sued a healthful regimen in every other respect ? 
As an offset to this side of the story, I can give 
you a hundred cases -in which dysmenorrhcea of 
long standing and aggravated character has been 
cured here, cured mainly, as I believe, by patient 
persistence in the regular habits of mental and 
physical life that here obtain. 

We do not attempt to cut down the work of 
each girl every fourth week, but we do mean so 
to regulate the work of the whole time that the 
end of no day shall find her overtaxed, even if 
that day has borne the added periodic burden. 
It is our aim so to combine opportunity for seri- 
ous mental activity with physical training and 
individual freedom from tiresome restraint or 
hint of espionage, that vigor of head and heart 
and body will be the happy result. As a rule, 


we succeed ; the success varying of course with 
the stuff we have to work with. 

The average age of the graduates of Vassar 
College is twenty-one and a half. 

Too young, I grant you ; and we hope to 
improve on it as the years go, and knowledge, 
physiological and otherwise liberal, increases. 

Eighteen is young enough for any woman to 
begin this course. At that age, with average 
endowment of mind and body, she pursues it 
with gladness and ends it with rejoicing, as can 
be proved by a goodly number of Vassar's 

Hoping that your sense of justice will suggest 
methods by which the erroneous impressions that 
your book conveys concerning Vassar College 
may be, as far as possible, corrected, 
Lam, sir, 

Respectfully yours, 


VASSAR COLLEGE, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., 
Nov. 4, 1873. 





Year of 


No. of 







Not living 

Died 1874. 






Taught ii years. Now in 





Has taught ever since gradu- 

ating. Now in Ohio. 




Very good 

Taught five years. Now in 






Has taught school. Slight 

jronchial trouble. 










Has taught school. 




Taught thirteen years, till 
married in 1872. 



2 or 3 

No recent intelligence. 





Health good as far as known. 
Taught some years. Now in 










Very good 

Taught three years. 
Has taught school. 
Physician in Missouri. 
Has taught school. 



Constantly a teacher, except 

two years in Europe. 




Minister in Connecticut. 




Lately married. 
Taught three years. Journal- 

ist in Ohio. 





Not living 

Has taught school. 
Died of hereditary consump- 











Very good 

Resides in Ohio. 



99 99 

Resides in Vermont. 



Resides in New York. 




Lately married. 




Has taught school. 




Very good 

Taught four years, till mar- 






Not good 

Taught one year. 
Troubled with scrofula, dat- 

ing back earlier than her schod 
days. Practises medicine in 






| Individual. J 

Year of 

s m 


No. of 






Very good 

Has just returned from three 
years in Europe, where she took 





lone pedestrian journeys. 
Has taught school and is 

teaching now. 




Taught three years. 




Taught constantly and is 

teaching now. 




Not living 

Died in 1871. 






Has taught school in Mis- 







Taught one year. 
Came to college in delicate 
health, which improved while 

there. The youngest woman 


.8 72 


Not living 

who ever graduated at Antioch. 
Died 1873 of hereditary con- 





Teaching in Massachusetts. 









All the time I was at Antioch College I never 
heard of a young lady in the college requiring a 
physician's advice. Among the seven girls in 
my class I never remember an instance of ill- 
ness : they were always at recitations, and 
always had their lessons. I spent four years at 
Antioch, two at the theological school ; and I 
have been over ten years a settled pastor, and 
I never yet was absent from an engagement or 
suspended labor on account of sickness. When 


in Kansas, I spoke every day from the first of 
July to the fifth of November, besides travelling 
to my appointments each day, some days giving 
two lectures and preaching Sundays, making in 
all two hundred and five speeches, averaging 
more than an hour in length, and came home 
just as well as I went ; and this moment I am as 
well as ever, and could walk ten miles in a day 
with ease. To me such statements as Dr. Clarke's 
seem absurd, and contrary to everybody's ex- 
perience. . . . 

The ill-health of the women of our time is not 
due to study or regularity in study : it is due to 
the want of regularity, and want of aim and pur- 
pose, and want of discipline. If you should take 
the whole number of women in this country who 
have graduated from a regular college with men, 
and place them side by side with the same num- 
ber of women who have not had that course of 
study, select them where you will, the college 
graduates will be stronger in mind and body, 
able to endure more and work harder than 
the others. This I am sure of, as I am ac- 


quainted with many of the somewhat small 
number of women graduates ; and I know some- 
thing of other women, having belonged to vari- 
ous female seminaries at different times. Rev. 
Olympia Brown. 


ABOUT eighty of the students are of the sex 
which some call " weaker," but which here, at any 
rate, is shown to be equal in endurance, in cour- 
age, in perseverance, in devotion to study, and 
in cheerful confidence, to the strong and stalwart 
men. The health of the women who are here 
now is in almost every instance excellent. I am 
assured by intelligent ladies in all the depart- 
ments that there is not a single instance of 
sickness which has come from over-study, or 
from any cause connected with the routine of 
the college life. In one or two cases, the incon- 
venience of a weak constitution, of weak eyes 


and sensitive nerves, has been felt ; and one of 
the most vigorous of the sisters has been con- 
fined to her chamber for some weeks by a 
sprained ankle. But it is the unanimous testi- 
mony, as I learn, of the ladies who are studying 
law, and medicine, and science, and the arts, in 
the class-rooms, and lecture-rooms, and library, 
and laboratory, that their health was never 
better, that they have had no attacks of malady, 
and that they ask for no indulgence on account 
of their sex. Most of them, indeed, are out of 
their teens, and beyond the age to which the 
warnings of Dr. Clarke's book apply. But, 
of the twenty or more whom I personally know, 
not one complains ; and they look to be in better 
health than the average of young women. 

Some say that it is too soon to pronounce 
upon the success of the experiment of co-educa- 
tion here ; but, if the opinion of the women 
themselves, and of the teachers who teach them, 
is to be accepted, the experiment in the present 
season is as successful physically as it is intel- 
lectually. The women are as strong and hearty 


to all appearance, and have not found their sex 
an obstacle to their activity and comfort in 
study. Rev. C. H. Brigtiam, in Christian Reg- 


THE testimony from Lombard University, 
Galesburg, Illinois, is as follows : 

The whole number of graduates is sixty-nine 
men and forty-five women, of whom twenty- 
eight of the women have graduated during the 
last six years. There have been no permanent 
invalids. Nine men and three women have died. 
Twenty of the women have married, eleven of 
whom are mothers. The president, who had 
been here eighteen years, thinks and, so far as 
I know, his opinion is the opinion of all who have 
been connected with the institution that the 
women are as healthy as the men. It frequently 
happens that girls improve in health after coming 
here ; and I have heard two or three of them 



say, after graduating and returning home, that 
they should be stronger if they could come back 
and again have regular work and a definite aim. 

FROM Oberlin, Professor Fairchild says : 

A breaking down in health does not appear to 
be more frequent with women than with men. 
We have not observed a more frequent inter- 
ruption of study on this account, nor do our 
statistics show a greater draft upon the vital 
forces in the case of those who have completed 
the full college course. Out of eighty-four who 
have graduated since 1841, seven have died, a 
proportion of one in twelve. Of three hundred 
and sixty-eight young men who have graduated 
in the same time, thirty-four are dead, or a little 
more than one in eleven. Of these thirty-four 
young men, six fell in the war ; and, leaving out 
those, the proportion of deaths remains one in 
thirteen. Taking the whole number of graduates, 


omitting the theological department, we find the 
proportion of deaths one in nine and a half ; of 
ladies, one in twelve, and this in spite of the 
lower average expectation of life for women, as 
indicated in Life Insurance Tables. 

Cambridge: Press of John Wilson and Son. 


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